March 14 (UPI) — Ivanka Trump met with victims’ advocates, tech industry representatives and lawmakers Tuesday regarding a bill looking to prevent online sex trafficking.
The Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act would make it easier to take legal action internet platforms for enabling sex trafficking on their sites.
“I have discussed these pieces of legislation with almost everyone in this room over the past several months and commend you on getting us where we are today,” Trump said. “On behalf of the president and administration, we want to thank all the members here today for your leadership and commitment to end the shameful and tragic crime of online sex trafficking.”
The bill would remove an exception to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which protects websites from legal liability for content posted by third parties.
Some tech groups including TechFreedom and Engine, which weren’t invited to the meeting, proposed changes to the bill after expressing its removal of websites’ liability protections for third-party content could hurt startups.
IBM’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, Christopher Padilla, said the company encourages lawmakers to pass the bill “without any weakening amendments.”
Facebook and the Internet Association trade group, which includes Google, initially opposed the bill, but announced support in November after senators clarified websites must knowingly facilitate trafficking to be found in violation of the law.
Mary Mazzio, a documentary filmmaker and victims’ advocate applauded the trade group for supporting the bill.
“This was an excruciating battle to watch and to witness and to participate in in the beginning,” Mazzio said. “For the Internet Association to come around and support, kudos. Hats off to them.”
The bill’s sponsor Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said it has support from 68 senators and hopes the chamber will take it up “within the next week.”