What They Are Saying

What Supporting Organizations are Saying about
The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 

National District Attorneys Association

“The National District Attorneys Association has long been a leader in defending the rights and safety of American children and victims. It is imperative that state and local prosecutors have the tools they need to effectively fight sex trafficking and serve the cause of justice. Courts have interpreted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to impede sex trafficking cases, and a fix is necessary. The NDAA is proud to support Rep. Wagner’s Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Make no mistake: The act will enable prosecutors to hold accountable websites that facilitate sex trafficking. Participating in modern day slavery should be no more acceptable online than it is offline.” - Mike Ramos, President, National District Attorneys Association

Major Cities Chiefs Association   

“On behalf of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, representing the 68 largest local law enforcement agencies in the Nation, I am writing to support the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. As sex trafficking has moved into the digital sphere, websites are the primary source to solicit sex trafficking, and these businesses continue to profit from their exploitative activities at alarming rates. Because of this free-flowing marketplace, online sex trafficking is now out of control. This rampant marketplace growth is due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. Prosecutors are now unable to take action against internet service providers, but your proposed legislation will correct this section and remove this obstacle. The proposed legislation ensures that the CDA will not impede federal and state law enforcement from prosecuting crimes that sexually exploit children, including online sex trafficking. The bill also ensures law enforcement can enforce federal and state laws related to sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and will not misconstrue statutes in current legislation, such as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It is vital that our nation’s children are protected from illegal sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, and we must close the gap by stopping online sex trafficking marketplaces from thriving. Thank you for your strong leadership on this matter, and we look forward to working with you to ensure your bill’s swift passage.” – J. Thomas Manger, President, Major Cities Chiefs Association   

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

"Let's be clear: human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is time for elected officials and each American to do everything in our power to end it. Halting sex trade on the web is one important component of this fight, and I urge Congress to act swiftly to empower law enforcement to prosecute websites that are deliberately promoting and profiting from trafficking in persons. I strongly support the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act because it would do just that, removing unnecessary federal barriers to law enforcement action, while providing important safeguards for constitutionally protected free speech. Our state knows firsthand the tragedies of human trafficking, and this legislation is one of many steps necessary to stop this appalling epidemic." – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

Faith and Freedom Coalition   

“The Faith & Freedom Coalition is proud to support the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which will empower law enforcement to effectively combat online sex trafficking hubs that profit from and provide safe haven for modern day slave traders. Rep. Wagner is shining a light on the marketplaces that contribute to the growing epidemic of sex trafficking in the United States, and Congress and the Trump administration should join her effort to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect our most vulnerable citizens who are caught up in the online sex trade." – Timothy Head, Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition

DeliverFund

“Our daily work in the fight against modern slavery has illuminated the need for accountability of online advertisement platforms who, through their actions, create circumstances which contribute to the sale of slave labor on the internet. It is because of internet advertising platforms that modern slavery has proliferated, and the laws have not kept pace with the technologies. This is not a first amendment issue and it is not a net neutrality issue. This is a basic human rights issue, and we applaud you for taking a stand to stop it. DeliverFund supports your proposed amendment titled Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. It is our prayerful hope that your amendment will bring accountability to online platforms who actively participate in the trafficking of human beings, and will protect the rights of victims who were sold online to seek remuneration for their suffering. Clearly defined legislation that can be enforced by our judicial system is essential to holding accountable those who facilitate modern slavery and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 is a powerful step to that end. Thank you for working diligently on this issue and fighting to protect the innocent.” – Nic McKinley, Executive Director, DeliverFund

National Association of Police Organizations

“The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act would boost support for and protection of victims of online child sex trafficking by giving law enforcement and prosecutors the tools necessary to enforce state trafficking laws against websites advertising children and to prosecute every criminal responsible for this modern-day slavery. By amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, this legislation will ensure that websites facilitating sex trafficking will no longer be shielded from criminal liability and give victims their rightful ability to see justice served.” – Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations

National Organization for Victim Assistance  

“We must amend section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect victims of sex trafficking and establish accountability for websites that benefit from this horrific crime. Section 230 already protects intellectual property—why doesn’t it also protect the most vulnerable in our society? The National Organization for Victim Assistance’s mission is to champion the dignity of victims, and I thank Congresswoman Ann Wagner for her brave and crucial legislation that preserves internet freedom while addressing the many obstacles that victims face in accessing justice.” – Chief Justice Richard Bajaras, Executive Director, National Organization for Victim Assistance  

FAIR Girls

“Victims of sex trafficking, often girls as young as 14, who are sold by their traffickers online deserve a chance to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. Approximately 90% of the girls we serve at FAIR Girls were sold online. They suffered abuse while their traffickers and others profited greatly from their victimization. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Sex Trafficking Act will give survivors the chance to hold those who participated in their exploitation and abuse accountable for their crimes.” – Andrea Powell, Founder & Executive Director, FAIR Girls

Ambassador Swanee Hunt

“Companies that promote prostitution on the internet have used a legal loophole to shield themselves from prosecution and justice. This common-sense change in the law will send a clear message to sex buyers across the United States that we no longer tolerate their abuse of vulnerable people.” – Ambassador Swanee Hunt

Focus on the Family

“Focus on the Family supports Rep. Ann Wagner's bill, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, to amend the Communications Act of 1934 in regard to section 230.  It's time for Congress to clarify that this law is not intended to allow website owners to avoid responsibility when sex trafficking ads are placed on their pages.  Recent articles in Focus on the Family's Citizen magazine detail the difficulty experienced by trafficked minors and their parents as they attempt to hold website owners accountable and protect other children from sexual slavery.  Those stories are found here: Shut Down and Turning the Page.” – Carrie Gordon Earll, Vice President, Government and Public Policy, Focus on the Family

Airline Ambassadors International

“Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) applauds the effort of Congresswoman Ann Wagner in strengthening Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, empowering state law enforcement agencies to stop websites and social media sites (like Backpage) from advertising and selling young victims. The proposed language would allow victims to exercise their private right of action against the websites that knowingly advertise them. Representative Wagner’s new bill, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, will clarify that online marketplaces that advertise victims of trafficking are not immune from criminal and civil liability. Each state has a responsibility to protect children within its borders. Internet service providers who are running online marketplaces should comply with state tax laws and with state criminal laws relating to sex trafficking and child sex exploitation.” - Nancy Rivard, President, Airline Ambassadors International

Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now   

“Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now supports the efforts of Representative Ann Wagner to amend the CDA and her bill Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Business owners claim that illegal activity on their websites is not their responsibility because of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Congress likely never intended this result, yet some courts have ruled that the 230 defense provides, in effect, blanket website immunity for all material posted by third parties on the sites. We cannot allow companies to get away with facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking simply because they stand behind the excuses provided by this law. They make millions of dollars (Backpage made $39 million by facilitating prostitution with adult ads June 2012-May 2013) off of the sexual exploitation of women and children. Human Trafficking is criminal, but it is also a business. Although there is more work to be done to end human trafficking in our lifetime, amending the Section 230 of the CDA is a step toward freedom for everyone.” – Pam Strickland, President

Church of Scientology

“The Communications Decency Act was written to protect innocent internet providers who have no knowledge of what happens on their platforms. Unfortunately unscrupulous individuals and companies have used this to protect themselves from civil and criminal cases when they are flagrantly involved in supporting and protecting human traffickers. Our laws need to change with the times and this legislation is written with the understanding of what is happening in the online universe. It is easier to sell a child to be raped from various websites than it is to sell a motorcycle on line. Your leadership has been instrumental in bringing the online sale and advertising of victims to the forefront of the dialogue.”

Artists for Human Rights

“As the founder of Artists for Human Rights, your proposed amendment to section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has come to my attention. You have my wholehearted support of all of your work and in particular this amendment regarding trafficking and the rights of victims of this heinous crime. Your complete and sincere devotion to this global blight is to be commended.” – Anne Archer, Founder, Artists for Human Rights

Saving Innocence

“Saving Innocence has received numerous awards, including multiple from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department for our groundbreaking work with child survivors on a local and national level. We are familiar with your unrelenting work in Congress regarding the issue of trafficking and want to completely lend our support to your amendment to 47 U.S. Code 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.” – Kim Biddle, CEO and Founder, Saving Innocence

Foundation for a Slavery Free World

“Your clarification of the statute which is being used by these criminals to justify and excuse their sale of women, girls, and boys being forced into this life, is extremely important. I have been told that ads are appearing again on Backpage in other sections as well. This legislation is vital to stopping this horrific crime and allowing victims to have their day in court against those websites who are knowingly engaging in this activity. I am particularly heartened that you have included all victims and not just minors in your bill. All victims of this terrible crime, modern day slavery, need protection. In looking to the State Attorneys Generals’ suggestions on how to best craft legislation, you have answered a long heard call for reforms. I congratulate you and look forward to helping to promote the bill and do everything possible to see it pass in Congress.” – Founder & Executive Director Marisol Nichols

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

“Whether the auction block is on the street corner or online, we can no longer tolerate sex trafficking of children and adults. Websites with business models that clearly facilitate commercial sex trafficking cannot be given free rein to facilitate this unspeakable crime. Only sex traffickers and sex buyers could oppose this legislation. It is time for Congress to side with victims.”   

Courtney’s House:

"The internet has created unlimited opportunities for predators to have direct access to children and young adults. The vast majority of youth served by Courtney's House were sold on Craigslist and Backpage and even recruited through social media networks. While Congress rightly acted to protect internet freedom under the First Amendment with the enactment of the Communications Decency Act, its actions have been interpreted in ways that prevent us from protecting those driving industry forward while holding those knowingly supporting human trafficking responsible. Courtney’s House supports amending this Act because we believe that we can, and should, hold those responsible for knowingly supporting exploitation while preserving protections for others.”

Missouri KidsFirst:

“Missouri KidsFirst is proud to support Rep. Ann Wagner’s Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, important legislation for protecting children across America from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Congress should act quickly to shut down reckless online marketplaces that sell American children. It is clear that websites that participate in sex trafficking must be subject to State and Federal criminal law, just like any other criminal actor. This bill is a critical tool in making sure America puts kids first.”

The Covering House:

“The Covering House is delighted to endorse Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s bipartisan Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Our mission is to fight for a world without slavery, and we believe that a world with online slave markets that sell our women and children is not a world that is safe for anyone. This essential legislation will amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to hold websites accountable for participation in the slave trade, and to help abolish sex slavery in America once and for all.”

NAWLEE:

“The National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), a non-partisan organization, is proud to support Rep. Ann Wagner's Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, said NAWLEE President Major Dawn Layman. We firmly believe that law enforcement must be able to investigate cases involving facilitators of sex trafficking, whether they are online or offline actors. Police officials must be allowed to use state sex trafficking laws to keep children and communities safe from the online sex slave trade. This bill appropriately amends Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to allow law enforcement to use criminal sex trafficking statutes, all while protecting internet freedom.”

SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS:

National District Attorneys Association; National Association of Police Organizations; Major Cities Chiefs Association; Fraternal Order of Police; National Organization for Victim Assistance; National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE); WIFLE Foundation Inc. (Women in Federal Law Enforcement); Shared Hope; DeliverFund; FAIR Girls; Missouri Police Chiefs Association; Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley; Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; St. Louis Police Officers Association; Airline Ambassadors International; Courtney’s House; The Covering House; Missouri KidsFirst; Missouri Juvenile Justice Association; Faith & Freedom Coalition; Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Focus on the Family; Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation-CATE; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Faith & Action in the Nation’s Capital; Cornerstones of Care; Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police; Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM); Crisis Aid International; Ambassador Swanee Hunt; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW); Concerned Women for America; National Organization for Women; NEST Foundation; Skagit County Coalition Against Trafficking; Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now; Foundation for a Slavery Free World; Church of Scientology; She is Rising; Exodus Cry; Innocents at Risk;  Saving Innocence; and Artists for Human Rights.