Ahead of tomorrow’s hearing on combating sex trafficking online, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) penned an op-ed on this important issue for The Tennessean.
Chairman Blackburn wrote: “For many years, Congress has given the tech community a free pass on this and other concerns. But while a light-touch regulatory approach is necessary to allow the internet ecosystem to flourish, there must be a balance for a mature industry that serves so many important purposes in our society. With maturity comes responsibility, and it is time that we hold companies accountable for their actions when they cross the line. This certainly does not mean that we intend to push heavy-handed regulation, but there must be consequences for turning a blind eye to conduct that shocks the moral conscience and victimizes children.”
Recently in Brentwood, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) arrested 22 men for soliciting sex with a minor through backpage.com.
This was the 11th sting conducted by the TBI since 2015. This activity is beyond reprehensible, and the internet has only made it easier for sex traffickers to operate in the shadows.
We must act legislatively to give law enforcement the tools they need to protect children.
On Thursday, I will chair a hearing on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on H.R. 1865, “Allowing States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017,” which was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Ann Wagner.
This bill will clarify that law enforcement may take actions against morally repugnant websites that facilitate sex trafficking, regardless of the immunity they otherwise enjoy for user-generated content.
While to many Americans, the internet has been a source of inspiration and a platform for innovation, there is unquestionably a dark side to the web.
Click here to read the full op-ed online.