Scott Statement on Sex Trafficking Bill

February 27, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017:

“While I support the underlying goal of prosecuting those who facilitate sex trafficking online to the fullest extent of the law, I am opposed to how this bill accomplishes that goal. There are laws already on the books that have been successfully used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to send executives of websites that promote prostitution to federal prison. Further, the bill will apply not only to online advertisers of sex trafficking, which Congress already criminalized in 2015 when we passed the SAVE Act (see 18 U.S.C. 1591), and punishes conduct that is much less serious than what is ordinarily viewed as 'sex trafficking.'  

“Despite attempts to amend the bill, the DOJ has indicated that the amended language would actually make it more difficult to prosecute these cases.  To add insult to injury, DOJ has also said the bill is patently unconstitutional by being in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause.”

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