Our Focus Area

The Junior League of Santa Barbara’s Focus Area is improving the lives of at-risk young women by educating & empowering them to reach their full potential while working to prevent exploitation and injustice in our community.

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Summer 2017 Focus Area Posts

August 11, 2017

Some interesting developments have been brewing at the Federal Gov’t level with respect to Human Trafficking. Last week, the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017” (aka SESTA) was introduced on the Senate floor. The bill seeks to to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that the 1934 Act “does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sex trafficking”. This would be a HUGE WIN in terms of being able to prosecute those who indirectly facilitate sex trafficking!!! As the Comm Act of 1934 currently stands, a layer of protection exists to shield the hosts of websites from liability for content posted by others to go after sites (such as b a c k p a g e . c o m) that have been criticized for facilitating child sex trafficking. Backpage has been using the Act of 1934 as a legal loophole to say that they weren’t ‘creating’ the content, just posting it or ‘hosting’ content others had created, which was essentially online ads for sex with minors. According to a Washington Post article, a congressional subcommittee found in January 2017 that “Backpage ‘knowingly facilitated the criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls’ by editing ads posted by pimps to remove offensive language”. The Senator introducing the Bill, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, was quoted as saying “For too long, courts around the country have ruled that Backpage can continue to facilitate illegal sex trafficking online with no repercussions. The Communications Decency Act is a well-intentioned law, but it was never intended to help protect sex traffickers who prey on the most innocent and vulnerable among us. This bipartisan, narrowly-crafted bill will help protect vulnerable women and young girls from these horrific crimes.” We agree, Senator!

Here is a link to Bill information on congress.gov

Here is a link to a PDF of the actual bill.

Link to the Washington Post article cited.

Junior League of Santa Barbara