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Senate advances human trafficking bills, debates Communications Decency Act

Joe Mont | September 20, 2017

While two related bills have passed in the Senate, a battle is brewing over bipartisan legislation intended to attack the problem on Internet-facilitated human trafficking.

On Sept. 19, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a legislative hearing on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017. The bill, a proposal to combat online exploitation, has been met with concerns about potentially weakened corporate protections under the Communications Decency Act.

The proposed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and 27 additional cosponsors, proposes amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to create new legal liability for Internet companies whose sites knowingly facilitate sex trafficking and other crimes through content hosted on their platforms.

While it does not affect federal criminal...

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