The final legislation incorporates the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which Isakson co-sponsored. The law provides for lawsuits to be filed by victims against traffickers and those who assist them.
“The legislation signed into law by the president today is an important step toward holding perpetrators of the vile crime of online sex trafficking accountable and allowing victims to seek recourse,” Isakson in a news release. “This legislation updates and strengthens our laws while keeping the internet open, and I’m glad that it is now law.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has also made targeting sex traffickers a priority. Asked for his response to the signing of the new law Wednesday, Carr applauded Isakson’s efforts in the Senate on the issue.
“We greatly appreciate Senator Isakson’s dedication and leadership on this issue at the federal level,” Carr said. “America is united against this modern day form of slavery. The bill signed into law today is another tool to help us fight human trafficking online and root out the demand for this deplorable practice. Our office will work with the Department of Justice to see this law implemented and save future victims from the horror of human trafficking as we continue working together to Demand An End.”
Demand An End is the name of a program Carr has supported. He has also initiated measures to target the consumers of the sex trafficking business.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. It allows operators of websites who knowingly facilitate sex trafficking to be held liable in lawsuits by victims.
The legislation follows a two-year inquiry by Portman and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that culminated in a report entitled, “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.” The report found that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes to increase its own profits.
The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, which includes provisions from the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, passed the Senate on March 21 by a vote of 97-2. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 27.
Trump signed the law Wednesday in an oval office ceremony with a bipartisan group of law makers. Also with them were survivors and their families, as well as parents who had lost a child. Trump told them they were the most important people there “because you’re not politicians.”
The president also talked with parents who said their daughter had been murdered by traffickers when she resisted them. Trump asked them how old their daughter was. They said she was 16.
The president’s answer, according to Wednesday’s White House briefing report: “Oh, boy. We’re with you 1000 percent, OK?”