Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement upon the introduction of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017:
“The Department of Justice must hold criminal actors and facilitators of human trafficking – including rogue operators like Backpage.com – responsible to the fullest extent of the law. Sex trafficking is abhorrent and illegal. Internet companies work tirelessly to ensure that platforms are hostile toward illicit activity and partner with law enforcement every day to defeat criminal actors.
“However, this bill is overly broad and will be counterproductive in the fight to combat human trafficking. While not the intention of the bill, it would create a new wave of frivolous and unpredictable actions against legitimate companies rather than addressing underlying criminal behavior. Furthermore, it will impose new, substantial liability risks for companies that take proactive measures to prevent trafficking online, hampering the ability of websites to fight illegal activity. The bill also jeopardizes bedrock principles of a free and open internet, with serious economic and speech implications well beyond its intended scope.
“Internet companies agree that further steps must be taken to end human trafficking. The internet industry is committed to working with Congress to provide the Department of Justice with additional tools to prosecute criminals, including through our criminal laws, and innovative ways to provide public and private partners the resources necessary to combat human trafficking.”