Representative Wagner’s Fight Against Human TraffickingJordan Hayley | July 25, 2017
Congresswoman Ann Wagner joined a group of interns, Family Research Council (FRC) affiliates, and others to discuss her bill: Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. She plans to amend section 230 of the CDA (Communications Decency Act) in order to lift barriers that have prevented the court system, federal government, and victims of sex trafficking from obtaining justice against the slave markets.
Wagner started off with a history lesson into the sex trafficking arena, dating back to pre Civil War times. She also stated Congress’s failed attempts (in the past and current day) to end sex trafficking. Wagner says that Congress has failed to implement sex trafficking laws in the courts, even though the courts are asking Congress to legislate on the issue, specifically with the online industry of sex slavery.
Then she continued to address some statistics of this horrendous market:
- up to 20% of men have purchased commercial sex
- 9 out of 10 women lose their virginity by a sex trafficking occurrence
- less than 1% of trafficked women have been identified
- porn acts as a gateway for men to enter the sex trafficking industry
Currently, Wagner states, 80% of human trafficking is done or purchased online. This is very prevalent with the backpage.com website because it knowingly shows ads to sell children and other women to the slave trade. Additionally, backpage.com controls up to 80% of the United States sex trafficking industry. In 2015, backpage.com acquired $160 million in revenue that year off of ads for sex trafficking. Therefore, it needs to be criminalized, especially since it acts as an auctioneer for online trafficking and should be held criminally liable.
Presently, there are 37 co-sponsors of the bill and Congresswoman Wagner is working diligently to acquire more votes on this sensitive and relevant issue. However, big tech companies, like Google, are in opposition to her bill because of the amount of money they make off of this illegal activity. For instance, Google makes up to $1 billion a year off of illegal websites, including the backpage.com website.
Finally, Wagner stressed the importance of education on this issue, like through transportation modes (i.e. TAT-truckers against trafficking) and others, in order to help this initiative against sex slavery.
For additional information on the sex trafficking industry, watch the “I am Jane Doe” documentary on Netflix because it spotlights teenagers sold as escorts on backpage.com.