Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a bi-partisan coalition of 49 attorneys general urging Congress to affirm that law enforcement agencies retain their traditional authority to fight sex trafficking. In a letter to Congress, the attorneys general ask representatives to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to clarify that states, localities, and territories retain authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of child sex trafficking wherever they operate, including online through websites like Backpage.com.
“Texas will use all legal means to catch human traffickers and bring them to justice,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “Amending the Communications Decency Act to include online classified ad services will strengthen the ability of all law enforcement agencies to stop companies like Backpage from profiting from the sex trafficking of men, women, and children.”
In the letter, Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts noted that the CDA, which protects children from indecent material on the internet, is now misused as a shield by those who profit from prostitution and crimes against children.
“Federal enforcement alone has proved insufficient to stem the growth in online promotion of child sex trafficking,” the attorneys general wrote. “Those on the front lines of the battle against the sexual exploitation of children – state and local law enforcement – must have clear authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of these and other horrible crimes.”
Last year, Attorney General Paxton launched a dedicated unit in his office to combat human trafficking in Texas. In October 2016, the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Unit helped arrest the CEO of Backpage.com, a notorious website that generates millions of dollars annually from its classified sex ads. The Unit also executed a search warrant on the Dallas headquarters of Backpage.com, and the investigation into that organization is ongoing.
In addition to Texas, the following states and territories signed the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
To view the letter, click here: http://bit.ly/2vE1KG6