Senator Kirk Applauds House Passage of His Anti-Trafficking Legislation to Stop Online Advertisers like Backpage.com

SAVE Act Makes it Unlawful to Knowingly Advertise Sex with a Minor; Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Now Heads to President’s Desk for Signature

WASHINGTON –-(ENEWSPF)–May 19, 2015.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today applauded the House of Representatives’ passage of S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), which included two Kirk-sponsored bills to combat online sex trafficking and the selling of minors for sex. 

The JVTA encompasses the Kirk sponsored Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act, which aggressively combats Internet sex trafficking and the selling of children under the age of 18 for sex, and the Kirk sponsored HERO Act, which would allow veterans to continue their service by training them in on-line sex trafficking investigations and protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

“I applaud Congress for passing legislation that protects our most vulnerable and punishes those who profit from selling children online for sex,” Senator Kirk said. “I urge President Obama to swiftly sign this into law so that those websites like Backpage.com and their advertisers can finally be held liable for aiding in human trafficking.”

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would increase the maximum penalties for human trafficking-related offenses including enticement into slavery, obstruction of a human trafficking investigations, and repeat child exploitation offenses.

The SAVE Act makes it it a crime for a person, such as the owner of a website, to knowingly advertise a commercial sex act with a minor. Websites like Backpage.com provide a platform for this type of sex trafficking advertising, earning more than $30 million a year from their illicit ads, and ultimately contribute to the selling and exploitation of minors.

The HERO Corps Program has already proved successful and graduated two classes; thirteen of fifteen graduates are now employed by the Department of Homeland Security as Computer Forensic Analysts, and the second class is currently in the internship stage of training. The HERO Act authorizes the current HERO Corp Program, as well as enable the Department of Homeland Security—through ICE and HSI—to collaborate with the Department of Defense and the National Association to Protect Children—a national non-profit that developed the HERO Corps program and has been helping to manage it. Additionally, it would allow DHS and ICE to conduct research and development for the purpose of advancing technology for the investigation of child exploitation crimes, including child victim identification, counter-trafficking in persons, child pornography and advanced forensics.

Source: kirk.senate.gov