Sex trafficking accountability bill heads to President’s desk

Wednesday the Senate passed legislation aimed at combating human trafficking – what’s been called the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

WASHINGTON DC (WHAS11) — Although Congress hasn’t agreed on much these days, the vast majority of Congressmen and Senators have rallied behind a bill to target online sex trafficking.

The WHAS11 iTeam’s John Charlton has been following the issues surrounding human trafficking focusing on the local and national support for change.

MORE: Sex Trafficking Kids: Online Shopping

The “Family Foundation of Kentucky” and other critics blame sites like Backpage.com for creating a marketplace for prostitution and for shopping kids for sex.

The group also claims Backpage even helped modify ads with wording and filters to disguise minors.

After U.S. House approval last month, the Senate just passed the bill 97 to 2 which would allow states and victims to sue sites which knowingly promote prostitution and advertise sex trafficking.

In the past, the sites were immune to lawsuits.

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed for passage of the bill, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was one of the two who voted against it.

We reached out to Senator Paul to find out why he voted “nay”. The Senator’s team sent the following statement after the story originally aired.

“My fear is that this bill will discourage websites from self-policing for objectionable content. We should be supportive of the vast majority of websites that already moderate for objectionable content, and I believe this bill could have the opposite, unintended effect of penalizing them.”

President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

MORE: Read H.R.1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act

The WHAS11 iTeam has produced several reports bringing to light the dark world of human trafficking and much of our focus has been on raising awareness about the sex trafficking of kids.

MORE: Sex Traffickers are targeting American children

MORE: A closer look at human trafficking in Kentuckiana