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Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act

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Mr. Swanner, with thanks to Ms. Wagner, submits

A BILL

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of such Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act”.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230; commonly known as the “Communications Decency Act of 1996”) was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims;

(2) websites that promote and facilitate prostitution have been reckless in allowing the sale of sex trafficking victims and have done nothing to prevent the trafficking of children and victims of force, fraud, and coercion; and

(3) clarification of such section is warranted to ensure that such section does not provide such protection to such websites.

SEC. 3. PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION AND RECKLESS DISREGARD OF SEX TRAFFICKING.

(a) Promotion Of Prostitution.—Chapter 117 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 2421 the following:

Ҥ 2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking

“(a) In General.—Whoever, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (as such term is defined in defined in section 230(f) the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or attempts to do so, with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

“(b) Aggravated Violation.—Whoever, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (as such term is defined in defined in section 230(f) the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or attempts to do so, with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person and—

“(1) promotes or facilitates the prostitution of 5 or more persons; or

“(2) acts in reckless disregard of the fact that such conduct contributed to sex trafficking, in violation of 1591(a),

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 25 years, or both.
“(c) Civil Recovery.—Any person injured by reason of a violation of section 2421A(b) may recover damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees in an action before any appropriate United States district court.

“(d) Mandatory Restitution.—Notwithstanding sections 3663 or 3663A and in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties authorized by law, the court shall order restitution for any violation of subsection (b)(2). The scope and nature of such restitution shall be consistent with section 2327(b).

“(e) Affirmative Defense.—It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (a), or subsection (b)(1) where the defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the promotion or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction where the promotion or facilitation was targeted.”.

(b) Table Of Contents.—The table of contents for such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2421 the following:


“2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking.”.
SEC. 4. ENSURING ABILITY TO ENFORCE FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW RELATING TO SEX TRAFFICKING.

(a) In General.—Section 230(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:


“(5) NO EFFECT ON SEX TRAFFICKING LAW.—Nothing in this section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to impair or limit—

“(A) any claim in a civil action brought under section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, if the conduct underlying the claim constitutes a violation of section 1591 of that title;

“(B) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 1591 of title 18, United States Code; or

“(C) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 2421A of title 18, United States Code, and promotion or facilitation of prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction where the defendant’s promotion or facilitation of prostitution was targeted.”.

(b) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, and the amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply regardless of whether the conduct alleged occurred, or is alleged to have occurred, before, on, or after such date of enactment.

SEC. 5. ENSURING FEDERAL LIABILITY FOR PUBLISHING INFORMATION DESIGNED TO FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING OR OTHERWISE FACILITATING SEX TRAFFICKING.

Section 1591(e) of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (5) and (6), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

“(4) The term ‘participation in a venture’ means knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation of subsection (a)(1).”.

SEC. 6. ACTIONS BY STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL.

(a) In General.—Section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:


“(d) In any case in which the attorney general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the residents of that State has been or is threatened or adversely affected by any person who violates section 1591, the attorney general of the State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action against such person on behalf of the residents of the State in an appropriate district court of the United States to obtain appropriate relief.”.

(b) Technical And Conforming Amendments.—Section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (b)(1), by striking “this section” and inserting “subsection (a)”; and

(2) in subsection (c), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking “this section” and inserting “subsection (a)”.

SEC. 7. SAVINGS CLAUSE.

Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to limit or preempt any civil action or criminal prosecution under Federal law or State law (including State statutory law and State common law) filed before or after the day before the date of enactment of this Act that was not limited or preempted by section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230), as such section was in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.

PES: 

(Sec. 2) This bill expresses the sense of Congress that section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 was not intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims. Section 230 limits the legal liability of interactive computer service providers or users for content they publish that was created by others.

(Sec. 3) The bill amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 10 years, or both—on a person who, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (or attempts or conspires to do so) to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.

Additionally, it establishes enhanced penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 25 years, or both—for a person who commits the offense in one of the following aggravating circumstances: (1) promotes or facilitates the prostitution of five or more persons, or (2) acts with reckless disregard that such conduct contributes to sex trafficking.

A person injured by an aggravated offense may recover damages and attorneys' fees in a federal civil action.

A court must order mandatory restitution, in addition to other criminal or civil penalties, for an aggravated offense in which a person acts with reckless disregard that such conduct contributes to sex trafficking.

A defendant may assert, as an affirmative defense, that the promotion or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction where it was targeted.

(Sec. 4) The bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to declare that section 230 does not limit: (1) a federal civil claim for conduct that constitutes sex trafficking, (2) a federal criminal charge for conduct that constitutes sex trafficking, or (3) a state criminal charge for conduct that promotes or facilitates prostitution in violation of this bill.

The amendments apply regardless of whether alleged conduct occurs before, on, or after this bill's enactment.

(Sec. 5) The bill amends the federal criminal code to define a phrase related to the prohibition on sex trafficking. Currently, it a crime to knowingly benefit from participation in a venture that engages in sex trafficking. This bill defines "participation in a venture" to mean knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a sex trafficking violation.

(Sec. 6) A state may file a federal civil action to enforce federal sex trafficking violations.

(Sec. 7) This section states that this bill does not limit federal or state civil actions or criminal prosecutions that are not preempted by section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.

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Mr. Speaker, I object to UC due to an amendment to strengthen the bill.  We can do everything in this bill and do much more.

 

I would like to propose the following amended section 7 with a title change due to the content being added:

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act”.

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Collaborative Effort Against Human Trafficking Act”.

 

SEC. 7. HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION COORDINATOR.

Sub-Section 1

The Secretary of Transportation shall designate an official within the Department of Transportation who shall—

(1) coordinate human trafficking prevention efforts across modal administrations in the Department of Transportation and with other departments and agencies of the Federal Government; and

(2) in coordinating such efforts, take into account the unique challenges of combating human trafficking within different transportation modes.

 

Sub-Section 2. EXPANSION OF OUTREACH AND EDUCATION PROGRAM.

Section 31110(c)(1) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘The program authorized under this subsection may support, in addition to funds otherwise available for such purposes, the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking, while deferring to existing resources, as practicable.’’.

 

Sub-Section 3. EXPANSION OF COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

Section 31313(a)(3) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subparagraph (D), by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end;

(2) by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (F); and

(3) by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following: ‘‘(E) support, in addition to funds otherwise available for such purposes, the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking; or’’. S. 1536—2

 

Sub-Section 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.—The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee on human trafficking.

(b) MEMBERSHIP.—

(1) COMPOSITION.—The Committee shall be composed of not more than 15 external stakeholder members whose diverse experience and background enable them to provide balanced points of view with regard to carrying out the duties of the Committee.

(2) SELECTION.—The Secretary shall appoint the external stakeholder members to the Committee, including representatives from—

(A) trafficking advocacy organizations;

(B) law enforcement; and

(C) trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime, and port sectors, including industry and labor.

(3) PERIODS OF APPOINTMENT.—Members shall be appointed for the life of the Committee.

(4) VACANCIES.—A vacancy in the Committee shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made and shall not affect the powers or duties of the Committee.

(5) COMPENSATION.—Committee members shall serve with-out compensation.

(c) AUTHORITY.—Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish and appoint all members of the Committee.

(d) DUTIES.—

(1) RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Committee shall make recommendations to the Secretary on actions the Department can take to help combat human trafficking, including the development and implementation of—

(A) successful strategies for identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking; and

(B) recommendations for administrative or legislative changes necessary to use programs, properties, or other resources owned, operated, or funded by the Department to combat human trafficking.

(2) BEST PRACTICES AND RECOMMENDATIONS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Committee shall develop recommended best practices for States and State and local transportation stakeholders to follow in combating human trafficking.

(B) DEVELOPMENT—The best practices shall be based on multidisciplinary research and promising, evidence-based models and programs.

(C) CONTENT.—The best practices shall be user-friendly, incorporate the most up-to-date technology, and include the following:

(i) Sample training materials.

(ii) Strategies to identify victims.

(iii) Sample protocols and recommendations,

Including—

(I) strategies to collect, document, and share data across systems and agencies;  S. 1536—3

(II) strategies to help agencies better understand the types of trafficking involved, the scope of the problem, and the degree of victim interaction with multiple systems; and

(III) strategies to identify effective pathways for State agencies to utilize their position in educating critical stakeholder groups and assisting victims.

(D) INFORMING STATES OF BEST PRACTICES.—The Secretary shall ensure that State Governors and State departments of transportation are notified of the best practices and recommendations.

(e) REPORTS.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall—

(1) submit a report on the actions of the Committee described in subsection (d) to—

(A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives; and

(2) make the report under paragraph (1) publicly available both physically and online.

(f) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:

(1) COMMITTEE.—The term ‘‘Committee’’ means the Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking established under subsection (a).

(2) HUMAN TRAFFICKING.—The term ‘‘human trafficking’’ means an act or practice described in paragraph (9) or paragraph (10) of section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102).

(3) SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Secretary’’ means the Secretary of Transportation.

 

(Sec. 7) This section states that this bill does not limit federal or state civil actions or criminal prosecutions that are not preempted by section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.

(Sec. 😎 This section states that this bill does not limit federal or state civil actions or criminal prosecutions that are not preempted by section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.

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Mr. Speaker,

Point of Order. I move that this amendment be split into two sections. We don't need to be editing the titles of bills. I ask that we consider the title as one amendment (I'm actually not even sure we're allowed to amend titles), and consider the rest of the amendment separately. 

I yield.

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HATCH: Mr. President, the following bill has passed by a vote of 435-0 in the House and 100-0 in the Senate and awaits your signature or veto. Should you choose to do neither within the next 10 days, the bill will become law, since Congress is in session.

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4 hours ago, Macmillan said:

Signed

-Dylan Macmillan
President of the United States

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