U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Wednesday issued the following statement after the Senate passed H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA).”

“Sex trafficking is not limited to faraway places around the globe,” Wicker said. “It is happening right here in America. Some companies and websites have been using loopholes in the law to facilitate and profit from these crimes. This legislation would enable survivors to hold these perpetrators accountable and liable for their actions.”

The legislation passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support. The bill incorporates the primary provisions from the Senate’s “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA)” to hold accountable websites that knowingly facilitate criminal sex trafficking online and give victims the justice they deserve. Senator Wicker is a cosponsor of the legislation, along with 68 other senators. The bipartisan bill was recently endorsed by the White House.

The bill would eliminate federal liability protections for websites that knowingly assist, support, or facilitate online sex trafficking and would allow state attorneys general to prosecute websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

The legislation also includes provisions to enhance criminal penalties for websites that facilitate illegal prostitution or sex trafficking.

SESTA and FOSTA are designed to address concerns raised by a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) report entitled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.” The investigation determined that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.

Senator Roger Wicker Press Release