Put sex traffickers on alert


Toledo Blade: The Communications Decency Act has unwittingly supported the explosion of online sex trafficking since its enactment in 1996. It is high time that something be done about it.

Websites, such as Backpage.com, that have been accused of knowingly facilitating sex trafficking, have been able to exploit a loophole in Section 230 of the CDA to escape legal and civil liability. The results have been gut-wrenching.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there was an 846 percent increase in reports of suspected child-sex trafficking from 2010-2015, mostly attributed to the Internet marketplace.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has been tenacious in trying to close this loophole. Mr. Portman, along with a bipartisan coalition of 19 senators, introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 last week.

The act would strip the protections for websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, even in ads posted by third parties.

The bill is a no-brainer. The legal loophole allowing for the exploitation of so many women and girls must be permanently closed.

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