March 21, 2018

Historic Victory for Children, Women, Human Dignity and the Internet

Statement by Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and President, Enough Is Enough®

For Immediate Release - Great Falls, VA – In an overwhelming bipartisan vote (97-2), the U.S. Senate’s passage of H.R. 1865, “FOSTA SESTA” is a critical step towards draining the cyberswamp of commercial sexploitation. Enough Is Enough® (EIE) commends the U.S. Senate for its leadership on this historic bill following a multi-year pursuit for justice which is nothing short of a David and Goliath victory against the multibillion dollar trafficking industry and the tech giants’ who lobbied against the bill’s passage. Once signed into law, survivors and state prosecutors will have the legal tools to successfully pursue civil and criminal actions against websites like who have knowingly allowed for the buying and selling of women and children for sex online while making millions of dollars in profits.

Senate subpoenas showed that executives at were complicit in facilitating sex trafficking having gone so far as to coach traffickers on how to get away with their crimes and avoid prosecution by editing out words like “cheerleader,” “little girl,” and “school girl,” from its online advertisements

No longer will these sites who put profit over human dignity be shielded by the unintended consequences of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) Section 230 which was originally intended to mobilize Internet companies to make good faith efforts to protect children from online pornography and exploitation. Instead, it’s been used as a Trojan horse for blanket immunity from irresponsible and even criminal actions.

It seems fitting that on a day when the Nation's Capital is being covered in a historic spring snowfall that the Senate joined the House, state and federal law enforcement groups, NGO’s and survivors in a monumental bipartisan effort to bring justice to vulnerable children and women who have been sold like chattel online. By uniting together, we are telling sex trafficking survivors, “We hear you, we see you, and we are fighting for you! Enough Is Enough®!”

It is my dream that one day women and children will be able to collectively say “Not Me” instead of "Me Too," because we worked together to create a safer online environment where their innocence and dignity are protected from sexual exploitation.

This landmark legislation fulfills a promise by candidate Trump, who in 2016 signed EIE’s Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge in which he promised to advance public policies and provide law enforcement with the resources and tools needed to investigate and prosecute Internet crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. The Pledge also called out the need for Congress to amend CDA 230.

EIE commends the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and so many others who have actively sought out tougher sex trafficking laws to protect women and children, including Ivanka Trump who hosted roundtables on the issue at the White House, as well as the following bipartisan members of Congress who introduced this legislation and saw it to fruition: Senator Portman (R-Ohio), Senator Bluementhal (D-Conn.), Congresswoman Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), among others.