The Source

House Judiciary Committee Examines Online Sex Trafficking

On October 3, the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing, “Online Sex Trafficking and the Communications Decency Act.”

The hearing focused on crafting legislation that would hold entities that participate in, or otherwise facilitate, sex trafficking liable, while also maintaining internet freedom under the Communications Decency Act (P.L. 104-104).

Committee members recognized H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) in April, as an example of legislation that might achieve these goals. The bill would amend the definition of trafficking participation to include “knowing or reckless conduct” by internet service providers.

On September 19, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held the latest in a series of related hearings on the issue of online sex trafficking (see The Source, 9/22/17).

The following witnesses testified:

  • Chris Cox, outside counsel, NetChoice;
  • Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor, United States Naval Academy;
  • Mary Leary, professor of law, Catholic University Columbus School of Law; and
  • Evan Engstrom, executive director, Engine.