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JCAST Chicago April Blog

18 Apr 18
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JCAST Celebrates FOSTA-SESTA

On April 11, the President signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) after both Congressional chambers overwhelmingly passed the critical legislation. This rare bipartisan effort will combat known sex trafficking activity online particularly of minors and is due to advocacy activities of so many including many JCAST Chicago supporters who contacted their legislative officials. 

FOSTA-SESTA creates a new cause of action (both criminal and civil) against online websites, such as Backpage.com, that are a hub for the sale of minors, mostly young women, online. Mothers and women themselves are now able to sue these sites for the revenue the sites received through the knowing exploitation of youth. Many of those advertised online were abused as children. These suits were described in the movie I am Jane Doe shown by JCAST Chicago at the Northbrook Library in January. The law also creates a criminal cause of action. This landmark legislation will limit pimps and traffickers ability to sell women and will deter men from buying sex. For example, immediately after passage of the legislation, Carl Ferrer pled guilty to activities associated with Backpage and agreed to testify against others others associated with online trafficking websites.

In the days following Congressional activities passing SESTA-FOSTA a number of websites, such as Craigslist, Cityvibe, Reddit, Erotic Review, immediately closed the sections of their sites – or the whole site – where sex was sold. JCAST Chicago is working with allies to continue this effort to combat the exploitation of young women and men by pimps and traffickers in Chicago and across the world. 

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