Home >> Legislation >> H.R. 1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

H.R. 1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 1865 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

        H.R.1865

                     One Hundred Fifteenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

         Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,
           the third day of January, two thousand and eighteen


                                 An Act


 
 To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of 
 such Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users 
of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil 
law relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking, and 
                           for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the ``Allow States and Victims to Fight 
Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017''.
SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
    It is the sense of Congress that--
        (1) section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
    230; commonly known as the ``Communications Decency Act of 1996'') 
    was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that 
    unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that 
    facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts 
    with sex trafficking victims;
        (2) websites that promote and facilitate prostitution have been 
    reckless in allowing the sale of sex trafficking victims and have 
    done nothing to prevent the trafficking of children and victims of 
    force, fraud, and coercion; and
        (3) clarification of such section is warranted to ensure that 
    such section does not provide such protection to such websites.
SEC. 3. PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION AND RECKLESS DISREGARD OF SEX 
TRAFFICKING.
    (a) Promotion of Prostitution.--Chapter 117 of title 18, United 
States Code, is amended by inserting after section 2421 the following:
``Sec. 2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless 
     disregard of sex trafficking
    ``(a) In General.--Whoever, using a facility or means of interstate 
or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, 
owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (as such 
term is defined in defined in section 230(f) the Communications Act of 
1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or attempts to do so, with the 
intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person 
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, 
or both.
    ``(b) Aggravated Violation.--Whoever, using a facility or means of 
interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign 
commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service 
(as such term is defined in defined in section 230(f) the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or 
attempts to do so, with the intent to promote or facilitate the 
prostitution of another person and--
        ``(1) promotes or facilitates the prostitution of 5 or more 
    persons; or
        ``(2) acts in reckless disregard of the fact that such conduct 
    contributed to sex trafficking, in violation of 1591(a),
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 25 years, 
or both.
    ``(c) Civil Recovery.--Any person injured by reason of a violation 
of section 2421A(b) may recover damages and reasonable attorneys' fees 
in an action before any appropriate United States district court.
    ``(d) Mandatory Restitution.--Notwithstanding sections 3663 or 
3663A and in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties 
authorized by law, the court shall order restitution for any violation 
of subsection (b)(2). The scope and nature of such restitution shall be 
consistent with section 2327(b).
    ``(e) Affirmative Defense.--It shall be an affirmative defense to a 
charge of violating subsection (a), or subsection (b)(1) where the 
defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the 
promotion or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction 
where the promotion or facilitation was targeted.''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for such chapter is 
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2421 the 
following:

``2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless 
          disregard of sex trafficking.''.
SEC. 4. ENSURING ABILITY TO ENFORCE FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL AND 
CIVIL LAW RELATING TO SEX TRAFFICKING.
    (a) In General.--Section 230(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 
(47 U.S.C. 230(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
        ``(5) No effect on sex trafficking law.--Nothing in this 
    section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to 
    impair or limit--
            ``(A) any claim in a civil action brought under section 
        1595 of title 18, United States Code, if the conduct underlying 
        the claim constitutes a violation of section 1591 of that 
        title;
            ``(B) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under 
        State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute 
        a violation of section 1591 of title 18, United States Code; or
            ``(C) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under 
        State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute 
        a violation of section 2421A of title 18, United States Code, 
        and promotion or facilitation of prostitution is illegal in the 
        jurisdiction where the defendant's promotion or facilitation of 
        prostitution was targeted.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, and the amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply regardless of whether the conduct alleged 
occurred, or is alleged to have occurred, before, on, or after such 
date of enactment.
SEC. 5. ENSURING FEDERAL LIABILITY FOR PUBLISHING INFORMATION DESIGNED 
TO FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING OR OTHERWISE FACILITATING SEX 
TRAFFICKING.
    Section 1591(e) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
        (1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (5) 
    and (6), respectively; and
        (2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
        ``(4) The term `participation in a venture' means knowingly 
    assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation of subsection 
    (a)(1).''.
SEC. 6. ACTIONS BY STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL.
    (a) In General.--Section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(d) In any case in which the attorney general of a State has 
reason to believe that an interest of the residents of that State has 
been or is threatened or adversely affected by any person who violates 
section 1591, the attorney general of the State, as parens patriae, may 
bring a civil action against such person on behalf of the residents of 
the State in an appropriate district court of the United States to 
obtain appropriate relief.''.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--Section 1595 of title 18, 
United States Code, is amended--
        (1) in subsection (b)(1), by striking ``this section'' and 
    inserting ``subsection (a)''; and
        (2) in subsection (c), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), 
    by striking ``this section'' and inserting ``subsection (a)''.
SEC. 7. SAVINGS CLAUSE.
    Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be 
construed to limit or preempt any civil action or criminal prosecution 
under Federal law or State law (including State statutory law and State 
common law) filed before or after the day before the date of enactment 
of this Act that was not limited or preempted by section 230 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230), as such section was in 
effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 8. GAO STUDY.
    On the date that is 3 years after the date of the enactment of this 
Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study 
and submit to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of 
Representatives and of the Senate, the Committee on Homeland Security 
of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, a report which includes the 
following:
        (1) Information on each civil action brought pursuant to 
    section 2421A(c) of title 18, United States Code, that resulted in 
    an award of damages, including the amount claimed, the nature or 
    description of the losses claimed to support the amount claimed, 
    the losses proven, and the nature or description of the losses 
    proven to support the amount awarded.
        (2) Information on each civil action brought pursuant to 
    section 2421A(c) of title 18, United States Code, that did not 
    result in an award of damages, including--
            (A) the amount claimed and the nature or description of the 
        losses claimed to support the amount claimed; and
            (B) whether the case was dismissed, and if the case was 
        dismissed, information describing the reason for the dismissal.
        (3) Information on each order of restitution entered pursuant 
    to section 2421A(d) of title 18, United States Code, including--
            (A) whether the defendant was a corporation or an 
        individual;
            (B) the amount requested by the Government and the 
        justification for, and calculation of, the amount requested, if 
        restitution was requested; and
            (C) the amount ordered by the court and the justification 
        for, and calculation of, the amount ordered.
        (4) For each defendant convicted of violating section 2421A(b) 
    of title 18, United States Code, that was not ordered to pay 
    restitution--
            (A) whether the defendant was a corporation or an 
        individual;
            (B) the amount requested by the Government, if restitution 
        was requested; and
            (C) information describing the reason that the court did 
        not order restitution.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.

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About Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Anomalous Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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