FOSTA’s Failure: The 2018 Sex Trafficking Law Has Been Worse Than Useless So Far

“FOSTA and the takedown of Backpage have made finding and fighting sex criminals more difficult, according to the GAO report.

Since FOSTA’s passage, the commercial sex ad market has become more highly fragmented and more likely to be based overseas. This “heightens already-existing challenges law enforcement face in gathering tips and evidence,” the report says. Those running the newer platforms often “host servers abroad, reside abroad, use offshore bank accounts and financial institutions, or introduce third parties to attempt to obscure or distance themselves from the day-to-day operation of their platforms, according to DOJ officials.”

Whereas sites like Backpage and Craigslist were willing to work with legal authorities—reporting suspicious ads, turning over information relevant to prosecutions, etc.—the new crop of commercial sex ad platforms are much less responsive and helpful. As a result, prosecuting their users has become more difficult, as has finding the victims of sex trafficking.”

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