Not for Sale: The SAVE Act of 2014
The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act
As a mother, I believe we have a moral obligation to stop the devastating consequences of human trafficking where innocent children are dragged into the dark abyss of sex slavery. During my time as a United States Ambassador, I was exposed firsthand to the horrors of human trafficking on an international level. But never in my wildest dreams did I think sex trafficking was so rampant in the United States of America, in our neighborhoods, school districts and faith communities.
Modern-day slavery exists right here in the United States. Through the scourge of human trafficking, children in our own neighborhoods and communities are sold into prostitution every single day. Sexual predators can browse advertisements and have child prostitutes sent to their hotel rooms as if they were ordering a pepperoni pizza.
For the past 14 years, the House of Representatives has not passed any new pieces of legislation dealing with human trafficking. During that time, the problem has changed and evolved. When I came to Congress, I made it my mission to make sure that we did something to address this enormous problem. That’s why I authored and introduced the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE Act), which seeks to criminalize the advertisement of innocent victims being forced into sex slavery.
In May 2015, as part of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178), the SAVE Act was signed into law by President Obama.
Several other important pieces of legislation were incorporated into S. 178, including provisions encouraging states to adopt “Safe Harbor” laws, which improves law enforcement’s collection of human trafficking data, and provides for much needed training to federal employees.
Millions of children, women, and men are trafficked every year around the world, including here in the United States. DHS estimates there are more than 20 million victims worldwide, with nearly 20,000 victims being trafficked in the US annually. I am proud to help defend those victimized by human trafficking by protecting our daughters, our sons, our nieces, and our nephews that fall victim to this horrendous crime.
Summary of the SAVE Act:
- Through easily accessible websites that advertise the victims of sex trafficking, predators can go online and have child prostitutes sent to their hotel rooms as easily as if they were ordering a pizza.
- Online classified services, such as Backpage.com, are the vehicles for advertising the victims of the child sex trade to the world.
- The traffickers pay online classified websites like Backpage.com to display their messages, these websites accordingly reap enormous profits (revenue from U.S. online prostitution advertising totaled $45 million in 2013) Government intervention is necessary to end facilitation of sex trafficking by websites like Backpage.com.
- Companies that base their business models off of profits made by selling sex with children should not be allowed to operate.
- The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act criminalizes this behavior, thereby dramatically reducing the sexual victimization of vulnerable children in the United States.
- The SAVE Act is designed to close Internet marketplaces that host advertisements for the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children.
- The SAVE Act amends the federal criminal code’s “offenses” section to make it unlawful for Backpage.com and similar websites to knowingly distribute advertising that offers a commercial sex act in a manner prohibited under existing federal sex trafficking statutes.
- The protections included in the SAVE Act apply to two classes of victim: underage children and those who are being forced to engage in commercial sex acts against their will.
- This simple change has made it easier for law enforcement to prosecute those that facilitate sex trafficking by advertising the victims.