Senate sex trafficking bill wins 60 co-sponsors

Senate sex trafficking bill wins 60 co-sponsors
© Greg Nash

A Senate sex trafficking bill that has worried the tech industry now has the support of 60 co-sponsors, ensuring that the legislation will be able to bypass a filibuster.

Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSherrod Brown asks Trump Fed pick why he referred to Cleveland, Cincinnati as 'armpits of America' Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller GOP senator wears shirt honoring Otto Warmbier at Korean DMZ MORE (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the original sponsors of the bill, announced on Wednesday that the legislation had won over three more Republican senators: Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP gets used to saying 'no' to Trump On The Money: Wells Fargo CEO steps down | Trump vows to keep funding for Special Olympics | House panel approves marijuana banking bill | Controversial Fed pick gains support in Senate Controversial Fed pick gains support in GOP Senate MORE (S.D.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Conservatives urge Trump to stick with Moore for Fed Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE (Ala.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSchumer, author discussed possible Kansas Senate run: report Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Republicans writing off hard-line DHS candidate MORE (Kan.).

“Today is another important milestone in our fight to hold online sex traffickers accountable and help give trafficking survivors the justice they deserve,” Portman and Blumenthal said in a joint statement. “There continues to be strong bipartisan support and momentum for this bill, and behind our efforts to help ensure that sex traffickers are brought to justice.“

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The two urged the Senate to vote on the bill as soon as possible.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) would make it easier for prosecutors and victims to take legal action against websites that facilitate sex trafficking. But critics, including much of the tech industry, argue that it would also hurt legitimate online platforms by chipping away at the legal protections websites have when it comes to content posted by third parties.

SESTA’s tech critics have largely backed a competing House bill, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), that they believe would leave their legal protections intact. Meanwhile, Portman, Blumenthal and some victims groups say it doesn’t go far enough in cracking down on bad actors online.

SESTA was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in November and is currently awaiting a floor vote. Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress can retire the retirement crisis Dems accuse White House of caving to Trump's 'ego' on Russian meddling The difference between good and bad tax reform MORE (D-Ore.) had announced a public hold on the bill at the time, though it now likely has enough support to clear any procedural hurdles.