Senator Mark Kirk Sponsors Bill to Combat Online Sex Trafficking

Mainstream Republican Senator Mark Kirk recently introduced the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act, bi-partisan legislation to further crack down on people and websites involved in human sex trafficking, especially of underage sex workers. The SAVE Act would close loopholes in the Communications Decency Act that allow human traffickers to “hide behind the Internet” to use women and children in the sex trade. This is Kirk’s third push for this important legislation’s passage which makes it “unlawful for a person or business entity to use the Internet with reckless disregard to sell, commercially promote, or maintain adult advertisements with subjects under the age of 18.” A similar bill sponsored by Republican Ann Wagner passed the US House of Representatives in May.
This bill follows the successful persecutions of nine men and one women charged for human trafficking in August 2011 under “Operation Little Girl Lost” in Illinois. Kirk is receiving tremendous support from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, prominent figures in his state who have been prosecuting sex traffickers for years. Under the bill, law enforcement agencies would be able to charge website operators who turn a blind eye to personal ads that lead to the sexual exploitation of children. Violators would face large fines and up to 10 years in prison. It also includes a civil provision allowing authorities to sue websites to help pay for therapy and hospital treatments for victims.

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