Washington seems to be in the grip of hyperpartisan gridlock these days. Important bills are passed on party-line votes (when they are passed at all) and the investigative committees of Congress appear to be sideshows, unable to agree on basic facts.
Many Americans despair that Republicans and Democrats seem incapable of coming together to do anything important.
Take heart – the two parties just did do something big together. On Wednesday, President Trump will sign into law the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a bill designed to crack down on websites that knowingly facilitate the online sex trafficking of vulnerable persons, including underage boys and girls. And the FBI, informed by evidence collected during a nearly two-year bipartisan investigation by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, just seized the website Backpage.com – which the Center for Missing and Exploited Children says is responsible for 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports in receives each year – and arrested seven of its top executives.
You might think cracking down on child sex traffickers would be a legislative layup. You’d be wrong. The bill – authored by Republican Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), John McCain (Ariz.), and John Cornyn (Tex.) and Democrats Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) – was hard to pass. (Full disclosure: My wife works for Portman).
The act faced a wall of opposition from Silicon Valley because it amended Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gave blanket immunity to online entities that publish third-party content from civil and criminal prosecution. Big Tech wanted to preserve that blanket immunity, even if it gave legal cover to websites that were using it to sell children for sex. When child sex trafficking survivors tried to sue Backpage, and state attorneys general tried to prosecute the owners, federal courts ruled against them, specifically citing Section 230. This did not move Big Tech. Chief among the culprits was Google, which apparently forgot its old corporate motto of”Don’t Be Evil” and lobbied fiercely against the bill.
Read the rest at: Sex Trafficing