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Attorney General Mills calls on Congress to Amend Sex Trafficking Law
August 16, 2017
AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills joined 49 other state and territorial attorneys general in a bi-partisan coalition urging Congress to affirm that all law-enforcement agencies retain their traditional authority to fight sex trafficking. In a letter to Congress, the attorneys general ask representatives to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to clarify that states, localities and territories retain authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of child sex trafficking wherever they operate, including online. The simple word addition to the CDA proposed in this letter will help to ensure that citizens and children are effectively protected throughout the entire country, in all courts.
“The Maine Attorney General’s Office is working to address human trafficking in Maine by hosting a working group that brings together a multi-disciplinary collection of partners to identify victims and hold traffickers accountable,” said Attorney General Mills. “State and local law enforcement are on the front lines of this effort. We need congress to ensure they have all the tools available to them fight this terrible crime.”
“Federal enforcement alone has proved insufficient to stem the growth in online promotion of child sex trafficking. Those on the front lines of the battle against the sexual exploitation of children – state and local law enforcement – must have clear authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of these and other horrible crimes,” reads the letter.
The intention of the CDA is to protect children from indecent material online. It was never was intended to place facilitators of child sex trafficking outside the reach of law enforcement. However, according to the attorneys general, the CDA is being used as a shield by those who profit from prostitution and crimes against children. In some cases, courts have interpreted certain provisions of the CDA to provide immunity from state prosecution to online classified ad sites, such as Backpage.com, that promote and profit from human trafficking.
“It is both ironic and tragic that the CDA, which was intended to protect children from indecent material on the Internet, is now used as a shield by those who profit from prostitution and crimes against children,” the attorneys general wrote.
Maine AG and 49 other attorneys general urge congress to affirm state law enforcement’s authority to fight sex trafficking