March 13, 2018
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Leaders from top U.S. companies, including IBM Corporation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 21st Century Fox, Oracle Corporation, Walt Disney Corporation and The Home Depot, today sent the following letter to Senate leadership urging passage of anti-sex trafficking legislation:
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
U.S. Capitol Building, Room S-230
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Capitol Building, Room S-221
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer:
We are writing to support Senate passage of legislation to address the critical problem of sex trafficking websites that have used the immunity provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to avoid being held legally accountable.
This legislation, which combines S. 1693 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and H.R. 1865 Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 388-25 vote on February 27, 2018. Our companies have steadfastly supported SESTA, sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and now co-sponsored by 66 other Senators.
When the CDA was enacted in 1996, the internet had just 36 million users. Twenty-two years later, through American leadership, it has grown into a vibrant and ubiquitous marketplace, offering almost unlimited opportunities to small and large businesses alike. But the immunity provision of the CDA was never intended to protect the online sex trafficking of children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently reported that over the past five years, 88% of the reports it receives regarding child sex trafficking relate to the trafficking of a child online.
As responsible U.S. companies, we believe it is time to address this urgent problem. This legislation has been thoughtfully and carefully shaped through the legislative process to provide limited, controlled exceptions to the CDA immunity provision that will help policymakers, law enforcement, and victims combat this illicit criminal activity. CDA protections remain in place for those who act in good faith.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue. We encourage you to move quickly to pass this legislation and send it to the President for his signature.
Christopher A. Padilla
Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Vice President, Americas & U.S. Government Relations
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Executive Vice President, Global Public Affairs
21st Century Fox
Senior Vice President, Office of the CEO
Senior Vice President, Government Relations
The Walt Disney Company
Vice President, Government Relations
The Home Depot