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House approves anti-trafficking bill that frustrates web companies

Senator Rob Portman speaks with two men
Sen. Rob Portman has been a key player in the trafficking fight. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House passed legislation Tuesday that allows victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that facilitated the crimes against them by knowingly hosting illicit ads.

  • The final version of the legislative package passed overwhelmingly, although more than 100 lawmakers voted against adding language from the Senate that particularly rankled internet companies.

Why it matters: The passage of the bill is a victory for victims and their families who say they’re unable to seek justice against websites that facilitate trafficking. But it also weakens the historically ironclad legal protections for online platforms, like YouTube and Facebook, that host user generated content.

What’s next?: The bill still requires a vote in the Senate.