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These statistics illustrate just how hard it is to effectively prosecute sex trafficking on an individual level.
The solution provided by FOSTA-SESTA, therefore, is to attack websites that facilitate trafficking, despite the fact that they also arguably make it easier for authorities to track down perpetrators, rather than empowering the law to more effectively prosecute the sex traffickers themselves.
What FOSTA-SESTA has actually done, however, is create confusion and immediate repercussions among a range of internet sites as they grapple with the ruling’s sweeping language. All of this bodes poorly for the internet as a whole.
After all, as many opponents of the bill have pointed out, the law doesn’t appear to do anything concrete to target illegal sex trafficking directly, and instead threatens to “increase violence against the most marginalized.” But it does make it a lot easier to censor free speech on small websites — as evidenced by the immediate ramifications the law has had across the internet.
Backpage has long been known for its advertisements for sex workers (though these were formally removed from the site last year).The presiding judge explicitly cited Section 230 in his decision to dismiss.Immediately following this dismissal, however, the tide rapidly seemed to turn against Backpage.This will create more victims than it helps.” There’s also plenty of research indicating that online avenues help officials do their work more effectively.A 2018 State Department report found that over a seven-year period, the number of identified victims of sex trafficking worldwide increased from fewer than 42,000 in 2011 to over 100,000 in 2017. law enforcement agencies initiated a combined total of 1,795 trafficking investigations.