Wyden Tries to Stop Momentum Behind Bipartisan Sex-Trafficking Bill

By Susan Crabtree

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) is trying to put the brakes on a bipartisan anti-sex trafficking bill that is picking up steam and appears headed for all but certain Senate passage early next year.

The bill, which the Commerce Committee unanimously passed this week, would allow families of victims of sex-trafficking, as well as states, to sue websites like Backpage, a Craigslist competitor, that allow advertisements selling sex with minors to be posted.

Wyden on Wednesday issued a hold on the measure, arguing that it could harm start-up Internet companies, the tech economy, and innovators.

The Oregon Democrat helped write the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a provision of which the measure would alter. He also has authored legislation aimed at curbing sex-trafficking.

“Having written several laws to combat the scourge of sex trafficking, I take a backseat to no one on the urgency of fighting this horrendous crime,” he said. “However, I continue to be deeply troubled that this bill’s approach will make it harder to catch dangerous criminals, that it will favor big tech companies at the expense of startups and that it will stifle innovation.”

Activists who support the bill are questioning Wyden’s opposition to it and say it now has so …read more

Source:: Washington Free Beacon