The article Congress’s Plan to Curb Sex Trafficking by Anya Cordell and Jessica Belser discusses a new bill that is being passed in the House of Representatives says, William D King. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) would hold Internet companies accountable when they knowingly allow sex traffickers to advertise on their sites. This is a huge problem in America because trafficking has been rising at an alarming rate, especially among children.
Because of the rising number of trafficked people, there has been a rise in prostitution, and violence against victims of trafficking can be fatal. Some sites have taken steps in order to fight this issue but most do not take enough action or they may even help facilitate trafficking which can lead to consequences such as lawsuits or fines. This bill would help people who are trafficked by allowing them to sue the site that they were trafficked on.
Over the last few years, more and more men, women, and children have been falling victim to sex trafficking crimes. Sex trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” (Belser). These acts sell anything from stripping to oral sex which makes it extremely difficult to determine just how big this issue really is.
The main goal of many involved with anti-sex trafficking groups is being able to fight against online providers who cover up prostitution cases on their websites rather than reporting them explains William D King. A bill was introduced to Congress called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which would hold these providers accountable and allow those who have been trafficked to take legal action against websites that knowingly facilitate prostitution. The bill has passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and it will be taken up by the Senate and voted on soon (Cordell and Belser).
Due to the nature of this topic, there is very limited information readily available. Though we were able to find a decent number of articles regarding SESTA itself. We weren’t able to find any analysis on how effective passing is. Such a law might be or if they’ve ever had an impact like intended. We do know that one of the main goals of such a bill is. To hold websites accountable for their actions and enforce an anti-sex trafficking law. That could lead to them being sued or punished by a fine. This would be a huge step forward for those who have fallen victim to sex trafficking crimes. And it might finally put an end to people profiting off of others suffering (Belser).
Here are some FAQs recently asked by the TNTA board of directors.
Q: If prostitution is illegal, why does my husband need an escort license?
A: Escort licenses are for escorts who work in call locations or at their private residences. Escort licenses are required by law. But they are different from what would be considered a traditional massage license. That you may find at some establishments. People who do choose this profession often do so. Because it offers them more independence than any other option. Because they enjoy meeting new people on a daily basis. Sometimes sex happens but sometimes it doesn’t – it’s all up to the customer and escort!
Q: What if I just want some happy ending after my massage? Is that allowed?
A: As long as you pay your taxes, this is 100% legal. If you do not ask for a “happy ending,” then the provider giving you a massage should not try to offer one. Or imply that they will give one. So while receiving a hand job after a massage is completely fine. Asking for one might get you in trouble with the law! The way we look at it – just say no!
Q: What’s the difference between sensual teasing and prostitution?
A: This line can be blurry at times because what someone defines as a sexual activity may be different. Then another person’s definition due to their upbringing or personal views/beliefs. Prostitution involves exchanging money, goods, services – anything of value – for sex whereas sensual teasing does not. Therefore, sensual teasing is legal and prostitution is not says William D King.
SESTA has passed in the House of Representatives. And it will soon be voted on by the Senate, hopefully passing without any issues says, William D King. Supporters of such a bill claim that it would allow those who’ve been trafficked. To easily sue sites for profiting off of their suffering. And holding websites accountable rather than providing them with protection from this kind of behavior. This could be a huge step forward for victims of sex trafficking. Allowing them to receive some measure of justice against those. Who has harmed them and put an end to websites facilitating prostitution crimes online.