Federal Court Provides No Relief to Sex Trafficking Victim
 
Federal Court Provides No Relief to Sex Trafficking Victim
Written By David E. Smith   |   08.26.11

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against a classified ad website that has been accused of being a marketplace for sexual services.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Mummert has dismissed the lawsuit filed against a dubious website on behalf of a teenage girl. The young girl alleged that she was being prostituted on the website by a female pimp who was advertising her availability for underage sexual services. The girl was 14-years old at the time.

The 27-year old pimp, a woman from St. Louis County, plead guilty to interstate commerce to promote prostitution last year. She had been charged with posting nude pictures of the young girl online, arranging the sexual encounters, driving the girls to the hotels, and then pocketing half of the money.

The plaintiff argued that the website knew that nude photos were regularly posted on the website soliciting sexual services of both adults and minors, but did nothing to monitor or eliminate such postings.

Judge Mummert ruled that the federal Communications Decency Act frees the website from any liability for online content posted on its website.

Mummert agreed that the teen girl had endured “horrific victimization” as a result of underage prostitution. Yet he stated, “Congress has declared such websites to be immune from suits arising from such injuries. It is for Congress to change the policy that gave rise to such immunity.”

Child advocates and federal law enforcement authorities had partial success last year in convincing the popular, yet similarly slimy website Craiglist, to eliminate its “adult services” section.

It is high time for U.S. Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act to eliminate immunity for online companies that knowingly permit their sites to be used for sexual trafficking and prostitution.

David  E. Smith
Dave Smith is Illinois Family Institute’s executive director.  He and his wife of 25 years are blessed to be the parents of eight children. David has 20-plus-years of experience in...
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