A picture of Representative Blake Farenthold
Blake F.
Republican TX 27

About Rep. Blake
  • Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015

    by Representative Blake Farenthold

    Posted on 2015-01-27

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    FARENTHOLD. Madam Speaker, I am an avid supporter of the Internet; I have been one since the late 1970s. However, there is a dark side to the Internet. There are back pages out there and Web sites that have a business model to make money off of exploiting child sex slaves, advertising child sex slaves.

    This bill gives law enforcement the tools they need to investigate and prosecute those who advertise the victims of sex trafficking. This bill advances a compelling government and humanitarian interest to protect our children from those who seek to buy and sell them like products. This bill makes it illegal to knowingly profit from the distribution of advertising that offers a commercial sex act in violation of section 1591 of the Federal criminal code, which deals with the sex trafficking offense.

    The SAVE Act doesn't seek to restrict the free, legitimate exchange of information and ideas. I heard some of my colleagues on the other side--the gentleman from Georgia and others--express concern about innocent employees of Web sites or sites like Google that may accidentally index one of these sites or somebody who has an online forum on their Web site and somebody makes an off-topic post. That is why we added the word ``knowingly.'' I want the legislative history of this bill to show that ``knowingly'' is important. They have got to know that they are advertising for victims of human trafficking.

    It was carefully crafted so that legitimate Internet companies and legitimate Web sites are protected, but it is absolutely critical that we go after those who are trafficking in persons and advertising and profiting off of it. They absolutely need to be held accountable.

    Protection of America's First Amendment right to freedom of speech is fundamental, especially on the Internet, and that was one of the guiding principles of creating this. Less regulation of the Internet, low regulation of the Internet is important, but there are some things you have got to draw the line on. Profiting off of advertising or profiting at all from child sex trafficking is unacceptable, and this law fixes that to the best of our ability while still protecting folks' First Amendment rights.

    I am proud to work with my colleague from Missouri, Representative Wagner, in working to combat this terrible crime of human trafficking.

    Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I would ask the gentleman from Wisconsin, the chairman, if he has any further speakers.

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