Sex trafficking is a crime that involves coercing a person to engage in commercial sex acts. It is the ultimate violation of human rights and really is modern day slavery.

Sex trafficking is a crime that is rampant around the world. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world—and a $150 billion industry worldwide.

But what many people don’t realize is that human trafficking—especially sex trafficking—is also rampant in the United States. It’s hard to quantify how many victims there are, but the anti-trafficking organization Polaris estimates that the total number of victims here at home reaches into the hundreds of thousands.

These are harrowing statistics—so many victims of human trafficking are in our own backyard, and many of these cases start with deceit, exploitation, and recruitment on the internet.

Today, the House is taking action to fight human trafficking and hold these websites accountable. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) enhances criminal penalties for websites that facilitate illegal prostitution or sex trafficking.

This legislation amends the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to hold websites that knowingly facilitate or support sex trafficking more accountable. FOSTA also creates a new federal crime for websites engaging in illegal prostitution, gives states and prosecutors the tools they need to enforce sex trafficking statutes on the books, and provides victims a path forward so they can sue websites that knowingly provide safe harbor to traffickers.

We must put an end to modern day slavery here in the United States. And that starts with stopping the manipulation and exploitation on the internet. FOSTA helps us do that.