PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that the President has signed H.R. 1865, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA).
“We thank the President for signing H.R. 1865, which provides the States the authority to hold online sites and individuals accountable for supporting the sale of sex trafficking victims,” said Jackley. “The Attorneys General have actively worked to stop enabling sex traffickers via loopholes in the Communications Act. The signing of this legislation will allow our local, state and federal law enforcement operations to work more effectively.”
FOSTA amends the Communications Act of 1934 to create an exception for sex trafficking, making it easier to target websites with legal action for enabling such crimes. Under the package:
• the “Communications Decency Provisions” can no longer be construed to impair or limit civil action or criminal prosecution relating to sex trafficking; and
• those benefiting from “participating in a venture,” knowingly assisting supporting, or facilitating an act of sex trafficking are now in violation of the Federal criminal code.
In addition, FOSTA provides new legal recourse for victims and law enforcement alike, by:
• enhancing penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 25 years, or both—for people who promote or facilitate the prostitution of five or more people or who contribute to sex trafficking through reckless disregard;
• allowing victims or damaged individuals of sex trafficking seek justice against websites that assist in the violation of Federal sex trafficking laws; and
• enabling State law enforcement officials to take action against individuals or businesses that violate Federal sex trafficking laws.