UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In 2018, Congress rightly highlighted the problem of sex trafficking, which is a moral abomination and vicious scourge. It condemned sites like Backpage.com that helped sex traffickers accomplish their crimes while profiting handsomely. But the legislative outcome of this congressional focus, the Fighting Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2018, has done little to curtail sex trafficking. Indeed, that law has made life more dangerous for sex workers and created difficulties for prosecutors pursuing cases against sex traffickers. Congress wasn’t wrong to focus its energies on content platforms enabling harmful illegality. But FOSTA wasn’t the right way to incentivize platforms to tackle illegal sex trafficking, let alone other forms of destructive illegality.