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Girl Talk: House of Representatives passes controversial sex trafficking laws

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U.S. lawmakers passed two news acts, FOSTA and SESTA to help combat internal sex trafficking in April. These acts were passed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 388-25. These acts, standing for “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA)” and “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA)” and are designed to end and monitor sex trafficking online.
 
From a governmental perspective, these two pieces of legislation are doing the general public a great service by further regulating online websites such as “Backpage.com” that allows ads to be posted selling sex. Yet, these acts go beyond just preventing sex trafficking. FOSTA and SESTA create an exception to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
 
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was created in 1996 just as the internet was surfacing. This act stands as one of the most important laws protecting freedom of speech and expression on the internet. The act ultimately states that a website cannot be responsible for anything that is posted by a third-party on their page. This act allows companies such as Youtube to offer millions of comments and hours of content.
 
The first problem with FOSTA and SESTA is that overriding section 230 holds the websites responsible for the content they are posting. At first glance, that seems like a perfect solution to preventing sex trafficking. However, according to news and media company, Vox, “Some sex workers say it will actually put them in further danger and push illicit activity into even deeper corners of the internet, and free internet proponents worry that platforms might censor or pull content preemptively just to avoid risk.”
 
Additionally, a guest writer was published in the Huffington Post giving a current sex worker a chance to voice her opinion about the new legislation. Laura LeMoon, the guest writer, shared her life story with readers of the article. LeMoon was a survivor of sex trafficking and is now a homeless sex worker. LeMoon argues that the new acts being passed make it “almost impossible for an independent sex worker to continue working” and “further limits our [sex workers] options for income and puts us on the fast track to even harsher marginalization.”
 
LeMoon goes on to explain the benefits of websites such as Backpage.com and how it is a safer experience for people who are voluntarily working within the sex work industry. They are able to screen their clients more in depth and have the ability to reply with a confident no and not have to fear for their lives. The further scrutiny of these websites also pushes sex workers to the streets, leaving them homeless and under the control of urban pimps.
 
The United States is not the only country having to deal with regulating sex work, prostitution, and sex trafficking. Countries like Sweden and the Netherlands have conducted countless policy experiments to combat sex trafficking and prostitution within their countries. In the 1990’s Sweden passed an act that made it illegal to purchase sex, but legal to sell sex. According to Nicholas Kristof, author of “Half the Sky”, 81% of Swedes approved of this law and it dropped prostitution within Sweden by 41% over the extension of 5 years.
 
The act also made Sweden a less attractive location for sex traffickers due to the falling prices of sex within the nation. The decriminalization of prostitution and consensual sex work inherently lowers the popularity of the industry which decreases the overall number of people being forced into the sex work industry.
 
These controversial acts passed by the United States will further isolate current sex workers and will only make current online sex traffickers harder to find. However, getting rid of large companies notorious for fostering platforms that allow sex trafficking to occur may begin to bring attention to the surface problems that FOSTA and SESTA do not solve.

About the Writer
Abbey Malbon, Spotlight Reporter
Abbey Malbon is in 11th grade and is a spotlight writer. She is involved with Literary Magazine, Best Buddies and Fresh Connect. She spends her free time watching That 70’s show reruns and writing emo poems.
22 Comments

22 Responses to “Girl Talk: House of Representatives passes controversial sex trafficking laws”

  1. Ellie Heney on April 24th, 2018 1:40 pm

    abbey at it again

  2. emily deangelo on April 25th, 2018 1:06 pm

    you can do it Abbey i know you can do it

  3. Chocolate Chip Cookie on April 24th, 2018 4:23 pm

    So would the best solution to this be to legalize prostitution like they did in Sweden and the Netherlands?

  4. Killian Kenny on April 25th, 2018 8:36 am

    That could present some issues as some would try to blur the lines of what is allowed in that business. Thus, legal prostitution is best left to Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

  5. прямой белый самец on April 25th, 2018 7:19 am

    “getting rid of large companies notorious for fostering platforms that allow sex trafficking ”
    this is very anecdotal or unproven, you didnt provide any large companies responsible for this, just said there was companies. you didnt solve or even state the problemn with that

  6. hi on April 25th, 2018 9:01 am
  7. друг on April 25th, 2018 1:47 pm

    thank you for pointing that out better then abbey did

  8. smart guy on April 25th, 2018 7:36 am

    Well if you a liberal democrat, which you clearly are you believe in controversial laws meaning you agree with the “controversial” Laws/acts so I don’t see your point

  9. darkstripe on April 25th, 2018 12:58 pm

    breaking: local man decides that if you like one controversial opinion you like ALL controversial opinions. more at five

  10. друг on April 25th, 2018 1:49 pm

    thank you once again for not actually contributing to the conversation, make a point or spend your time somewhere else please

  11. darkstripe on April 26th, 2018 8:31 am

    i was pointing out the fallacies of this more than anything. if you find me an idiot (which i am very aware i am), it’s probably in your best favor to ignore me. idiocy is a contagious thing anyway

  12. James Sefton on April 25th, 2018 1:22 pm

    Controversial – “giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.”
    Given this, I fail to see your point. Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but you seem to be claiming that democrats support controversial laws simply because they are controversial? If a law was passed making all abortions illegal, no exceptions, then I would say that is a very controversial law, and yet Democrats would be the least likely people to support it.

  13. darkstripe on April 25th, 2018 8:19 am

    this comment section is gonna be fun to watch

  14. Killian Kenny on April 25th, 2018 8:36 am

    agreed

  15. mae strip tywyll yn anabl on April 25th, 2018 9:22 am

    You comment this on every post, at least find something intelligent to say if you are going to comment on every article.

  16. axiet on April 25th, 2018 8:47 pm

    I grant you a thousand keks, bless you.

    Darkstripe, are you capable of using capitalization and punctuation? Almost every comment that you post, these simple syntax rules does not apply.

  17. darkstripe on April 26th, 2018 8:29 am

    and don’t you remember that pointing out the way someone typed something doesn’t make a good argument? i type without capitalization as sort of a distinctive mark than anything, and also because it allows me to type quicker. if the situation is more serious and needs to be handled with respect, i switch to proper capitalization. at least i don’t tYpE lIkE tHiS, unlike some people

  18. axiet on April 29th, 2018 10:22 am

    “the way someone typed something doesn’t make a good argument?”

    I don’t disagree but it does discredit your arguments if you can’t take a few more seconds to make your points professional. Also it is makes reading more elementry.

    “distinctive mark”

    You mean unprofessionalism.

    “type quicker”

    Pressing shift isn’t that hard. There is no point in being able to type faster in these comments due to the fact these comments are moderated and will not appear right when you “Submit Comment”.

    “if the situation is more serious and needs to be handled with respect, i switch to proper capitalization.”

    So, all these situations aren’t serious and don’t need your respect? To what degree do you need to use simple syntax rules. We were taught this in 3rd grade.

    “at least i don’t tYpE lIkE tHiS”

    You just did.

  19. Argument Analyst on April 25th, 2018 3:55 pm

    Of course, this could just be a misinterpretation of the article, but it seems that this article is saying that the people selling their bodies for money takes priority over the people who are forcefully taken away from their homes, sold on the internet, and then kept in the basements of a stranger’s house. It seems that this would only promote slavery–a concept that leftists talk on often–and Malbon defends this by saying that the bill violates freedom of speech and expression. It does seem a little ironic that most of the left goes insane whenever somebody talks about freedom of right aligned speech.

    Naturally, if someone were to elaborate on this topic, I would gladly accept their comments, and it would perhaps maybe clarify the topic for everyone else as well.

    Regulating the industry will help root out sex trafficking, but also many people would lose their jobs, which is what Malbon is trying to get at. I haven’t found any statistics for how many in the US, but about 40 million worldwide. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of sex workers rely on a pimp as a form of financial income, and about three-fourths of the workers in the industry face multiple cases of physical and sexual abuse. Another gallup also showed that 92% female sex workers did not want to leave the industry because of their heavy reliance on income for food and shelter.These statistics prove that not only is the business risky physically, but also financially, so it could make sense that the government does not want people going into this industry.

    Instead of only proposing problems, we should also pose some solutions for the employees in the industry. The government needs to create a program that would allow these people to find jobs. As I have said in my previous section, most people don’t want to leave because of the fact that it is their only source of income. If the government did this, then the law could be more justified and perhaps we could reach a bipartisan agreement.

    And now I wish to conclude with a general message for anybody who wishes to write articles or comment on articles that cover hot topics; instead of only placing an opinion in an article for people to fight over, try generating some solutions that would move us further instead of bickering over the opinion itself. As a generation who is considered to be the most progressive, we need to live up to our title by progressing forward and reaching equal agreements rather than driving a wedge between political ideologies.

    Stay informed.

  20. Logical Thinker on April 26th, 2018 8:09 am

    “LeMoon argues that the new acts being passed make it ‘almost impossible for an independent sex worker to continue working”

    Maybe get a regular job like every other normal person who lives in a functioning society? If she is able to make herself pretty enough to sell her body, she can make herself pretty enough to walk into a store and get a job interview.

  21. Argument Analyst on April 26th, 2018 2:20 pm

    I understand what your intentions with this are and where this comes from. However, the issue is that most of these people rely on their industry for their source of income. 92 percent of these people claimed that they relied on it for their income, and couldn’t find ways to get these jobs you speak of. If we were to find a way that would help these people get jobs, then we would be able to resolve this issue with little complaint.

  22. Corey Foster on May 9th, 2018 9:28 am

    It’s a bit hypocritical how the main examples of “good” prostitution laws are Sweden and the Netherlands, countries that are well known to have some of the most active Red Light districts on the planet, as well as legalized prostitution. I had the pleasure of visiting Amsterdam. It was a gorgeous city, with lovely canals and people. But I would not go there again, for the very reason aforementioned: people there are WAY too permissive with their bodies.

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Girl Talk: House of Representatives passes controversial sex trafficking laws