"For far too long, bad actors like Backpage hid behind this outdated law that allowed them to knowingly facilitate sex trafficking of children online," Senator McCaskill said after passage of the bill. "We took on a powerful company that stonewalled us at every turn. This bill will ensure that survivors get the justice they deserve, and stop the next Backpage before any website can claim another victim." Senator McCaskill
, who is herself a former prosecutor, was a key figure on a Senate committee which held high-profile hearings investigating the operations of Backpage.com. The committee uncovered evidence that employees and contractors for the company had active involvement in the wording of ads to mask advertisements for child sex while still communicating their clear intention.Congresswoman Wagner
applauded the relentless efforts of anti-trafficking groups in helping win passage of the measure. "FOSTA will finally give local, state, and federal prosecutors the tools they need to put predators behind bars. Congress does not believe--and never did
believe--that sex trafficking is an acceptable consequence of the free and open internet. I look forward to President Trump signing FOSTA into law."
Congresswoman Wagner and Senator McCaskill have fought the last few years against technology giants like Google and Facebook who worked to stymie any amendments to the CDA. This year the Internet Association relaxed their opposition, stating they want to be "a key partner with policymakers on this important issue."
As a result of passage of FOSTA, another popular yet sleazy website has announced they will be eliminating the "personals" classified advertising section from their online presence. Craigslist said they were "regretfully" taking the action, because they "can't take such a risk without jeopardizing all our other services." Craigslist
has played the same games that Backpage.com has in recent years. They closed out sections advertising "erotic services" and "adult services," but simply moved those ads to the "personals" section of their website.
In today's hook-up culture, numerous websites and apps are online marketplaces for scheduling casual sexual encounters customized to a person's sexual tastes, no matter how deviant. All of these sites will now be forced to re-evaluate their business models as Craigslist quickly chose to do.