Bill To Combat Sex Trafficking Up Next In Senate
'America’s children should not be sold -- online or anywhere else. America’s families should not be victimized by such evil. And America’s laws should not be misused to protect those who perpetrate these crimes -- or those who, according to the stunning subcommittee report, knowingly give them space and tools to operate, while profiting in the process. Several of us have worked hard on this issue for a number of years. It’s now past time to take this additional step.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA):
“Yesterday, the Senate took a big step forward for the community banks, credit unions, and other small lenders on which communities across America rely for access to credit. On a strong bipartisan vote, we passed Sen. Crapo’s legislation to streamline the Dodd-Frank Act so that regulations intended for Wall Street place less of a crushing burden on Main Street.
“Next up is legislation to combat sex trafficking. Debate on this issue will begin today. It might be easy to imagine sex trafficking doesn’t happen here. It would be easy to pretend that it’s only a problem in other parts of the world. But that is dead wrong. Trafficking is a crisis right here in the United States.
“From 2010 to 2015, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saw reports of suspected child sex trafficking increase more than eight fold. An eight-fold increase. Last year alone, more than 8,500 cases of human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
“As Senator Portman has been informing all of us throughout his tireless work on this issue, sex trafficking has moved from the street corner to the smartphone. That’s in large part because a 1996 law meant to protect online speech is now misused as a shield to stop sex traffickers and those who profit from their crimes from facing the rightful consequences.
“Mr. President, I’m as strong a defender of the First Amendment as you’ll find. I was here in the Congress in 1996. I voted for the Telecommunications Act that included this provision. So did the vast majority of my colleagues. And let me assure you, not one of us intended to create a special protection for platforms that knowingly allow sex traffickers to exploit children.
“The legislation we will consider would ensure that institutions that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held accountable for their actions. Mr. President, there’s a reason why 67 Senators have joined Senator Portman in support of legislation to accomplish this. There’s a reason why the White House is strongly supportive.
“America’s children should not be sold -- online or anywhere else. America’s families should not be victimized by such evil. And America’s laws should not be misused to protect those who perpetrate these crimes -- or those who, according to the stunning subcommittee report, knowingly give them space and tools to operate, while profiting in the process.
“Several of us have worked hard on this issue for a number of years. It’s now past time to take this additional step. When we vote next week, that time will come.”
Related Issues: Combating Sex Trafficking