Attorney General Morrisey Fights Sex Trafficking, Urges Court to Uphold Crucial Law

Updated 3 weeks ago Edited from a Press Release
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a 21-state coalition in supporting a federal law that gives prosecutors greater authority to take legal action against websites that host sex-trafficking advertisements.

 
The bipartisan coalition this week urged a federal appeals court to reject a constitutional challenge to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), federal legislation Attorney General Morrisey backed in 2017 and 2018 as part of his broader focus on better identifying and ending human trafficking in the Mountain State.
 
“Online sex trafficking amounts to modern-day slavery,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The digital age increases the risk making it more profitable and, therefore, more prevalent. FOSTA provides a way to fight back and eradicate the scourge of sex trafficking.” 
 
The FOSTA ensures prosecutors may go after anyone who intentionally facilitates sex trafficking online. It also creates the ability for state attorneys general to bring civil action against violators of federal prostitution laws.
 
The legislation, signed by President Trump last April, amended the Communications Decency Act (CDA), previously used as a shield by websites to claim immunity from criminal and civil actions. Its impact on the internet was immediate, as various websites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertisements.
 
The CDA’s intention is to protect children from indecent material online – never to place facilitators of child sex trafficking outside the reach of law enforcement.
 
The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office remains dedicated to fighting human trafficking and actively offers training to social service and child protective service workers, law enforcement, prosecutors, educators, medical professionals and the community at large.
 
West Virginia’s increased rate of drug addiction, poverty and its large number of children in foster care make the state especially susceptible to human trafficking, which is defined as commercial sex or labor that is induced by force, fraud or coercion and ranks as second largest criminal industry in the world.
 
West Virginia joined the Texas-led brief with attorneys general in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.
 
The brief, filed Monday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, can be read at http://bit.ly/2vmqTnP.
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