Washington DC, 21.March.2018: Polaris applauded the U.S. Senate today after the chamber passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The legislation was spearheaded by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), with a version passing the House by 388 to 25 in late February. SESTA provides a much-needed update to the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to help hold websites like Backpage accountable when they knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. Polaris worked with Sens. Portman and Blumenthal, human trafficking advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, technology sector leaders, and survivors to craft compromise language that could pass Congress while protecting both First Amendment rights and people from being exploited online.
With the passage of SESTA, Polaris urges Congress to turn its attention to reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which expired in Sept. 2017. The TVPA provides the legal foundation in the United States to combat human trafficking and authorizes the federal funds used to provide essential domestic and international anti-trafficking programs to support to victims and survivors.