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Mar 29, 2018

Human Trafficking on the Web: Congress Fights Back

Emily C. Brown

The internet has become a platform for human trafficking rings, whether it is advertising sex trafficking and forced prostitution, or selling counterfeit goods likely made with forced or child labor.  Websites such as BackPage and CraigsList have developed a reputation for being a space where users can post personals and advertisements, facilitating sex trafficking. 

Exploitation is a frequent occurrence online.  Last week, the Senate took ground breaking steps to rid the web of commercial sex trafficking by enhancing the CDA.  The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which previously passed the House in February with a vote of 388 to 25.   SESTA grants authority to law enforcement to hold those who knowingly violate federal sex trafficking laws online legally liable, without infringing on service providers' rights and protecting free speech of good actors.  Polaris has reported that it has received almost 2,000 reports of sex trafficking that was facilitated through online advertisements. The bill will now be sent to President Trump for signature. 

The law is expected to make quite an impact in the cyber world. CraigsList has already taken steps to be in better compliance with the law, as it has removed the Personals section from the website, which is where many sex trafficking advertisements could be found.  This is a welcomed move that will hopefully inspire other internet companies to take make similar efforts to fight against sex trafficking online.

The International Supply Chain Initiative commends Congress for this success.  ISCI joins the anti-human trafficking community in imploring Congress to now focus on reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, to further extend protections and support to victims of human trafficking.

If you are interested in learning more about the increased enforcement efforts of the web pertaining to human trafficking, especially pertaining to forced labor in the supply chain, please contact the International Supply Chain Initiative immediately.  ISCI can provide for guidance and advice on how to protect your company from unknowingly supporting exploitation. 

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