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After six years, bill to combat human trafficking inches closer to law

Joe Mont | March 28, 2018

On March 21, the Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 97-2. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were the only votes against the bill.

The proposed legislation tweaks existing regulations to achieve its cause, notably Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That section of the law has been a relied upon protection for social media firms and other tech companies in that it protects them from legal liability associated with third party content posted by others and hosted on their sites.

The proposed legislation would amend Section 230 by including an exception for sex trafficking. Doing so, proponents say, will better allow legal efforts against well-known forums for prostitution and sex trafficking, such as Backpage.com. The bill is already having an effect: Crag’s List has announced it will purge its “personals” section of the site.

Over time, the nation’s largest tech companies, once in...

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