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 PortmanTexas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs 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 senator: Trump thinks funding deal is 'thin gruel' Lawmakers put Pentagon's cyber in their sights Endorsing Trump isn’t the easiest decision for some Republicans MORE (S.D.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHow the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal GOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration MORE (Ala.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators offer praise for Klobuchar: 'She’s the whole package' The Hill's Morning Report - House Dems prepare to swamp Trump with investigations The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? 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 WydenHillicon Valley: Kremlin seeks more control over Russian internet | Huawei CEO denies links to Chinese government | Facebook accused of exposing health data | Harris calls for paper ballots | Twitter updates ad rules ahead of EU election Kremlin seeks more control over internet in Russia Wisconsin governor to propose decriminalization of marijuana 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.