FRANKFORT, Ky. (7/24/13) – Attorney General Jack Conway today joined a bi-partisan national coalition of 49 Attorneys General calling on Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act to help fight prostitution and child sex trafficking. In a letter to key members of Congress, the Attorneys General advocated that Congress amend the Communications Decency Act to provide criminal jurisdiction to state and local prosecutors. The letter's lead sponsors were the Attorneys General from the states of Missouri, South Dakota and Washington.
According to General Conway, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was drafted when the Internet was in its infancy. The original purpose of the Act was to protect children from accessing indecent material online, but courts have interpreted certain provisions of the Act to provide immunity from state prosecution to online classified ad sites, such as Backpage.com, which promote and profit from human trafficking.
“Prostitution is a local crime. Absent interstate travel, federal property, or the involvement of a minor, prostitution is not a federal crime. While the Communications Decency Act provides criminal authority to the federal government, the Attorneys General believe that criminal jurisdiction needs to be extended to states to help combat these crimes. Federal law needs to be brought up to date with changes in technology to provide local prosecutors the tools they need to strike back against those who use technology to promote sexual exploitation of children," General Conway said.
Local prosecutors report that prostitution solicitations have largely moved online. Backpage.com, for example, generates an estimated $3 million to $4 million per month in revenue.
Information provided by the Office of Attorney General
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