Press Releases

Culberson Votes to Fight Online Sex Trafficking, Give Survivors Pathway to Justice

Media Contact: Amanda Smith, 202-225-2571,

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Washington D.C., February 27, 2018 | comments

Washington, D.C. – Today Representative John Culberson (TX-07) voted on important legislation to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA), and to give federal, state, and local prosecutors the tools they need to hold websites accountable for supporting the sale of sex trafficking victims. H.R. 1865 - Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, also known as the FOSTA-SESTA legislation, passed the House today by a vote of 388-25.  Following passage, Rep. Culberson released the following statement:

“I’m proud to cosponsor and support this critical, bipartisan piece of legislation that lifts barriers that have kept the federal government, states and sex trafficking survivors from pursuing justice against modern-day slavery. There should be no safe havens or legal loopholes for anyone involved in the trafficking of children or adults for sex online; and now, survivors of online trafficking have a pathway to justice.

“I will continue to do everything in my power to fight this global scourge.”

For full text of the legislation, click here.

Background on FOSTA

  • Holds Bad Actors Accountable: clarifies that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) does NOT grant immunity to websites that facilitate trafficking.
  • Creates a New Federal Crime: websites that have the intent to promote or facilitate illegal prostitution can be prosecuted under the new 18 U.S.C 2421A created by the bill.
  • Increases Criminal Penalties: prosecutors can seek higher penalties for websites who promote the illegal prostitution of five or more persons, or act with reckless disregard for the fact that sex trafficking occurs on their website.
  • Enforces Existing Laws: allows state and local prosecutors to enforce sex trafficking statutes and the new 2421A.
  • Provides Restitution for Victims: gives victims of sex trafficking a pathway to sue bad actor websites for conduct violating the new criminal law, 2421A.



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