Text: H.R.1865 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-164 (04/11/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 164]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 132 STAT. 1253]]

Public Law 115-164
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of 
 such Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users 
of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil 
law relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking, and 
       for other purposes. <<NOTE: Apr. 11, 2018 -  [H.R. 1865]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Allow States and 
Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 18 USC 1 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Allow States and Victims to Fight 
Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 47 USC 230 note.>>  SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
        230; commonly known as the ``Communications Decency Act of 
        1996'') was never intended to provide legal protection to 
        websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and 
        websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of 
        unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims;
            (2) websites that promote and facilitate prostitution have 
        been reckless in allowing the sale of sex trafficking victims 
        and have done nothing to prevent the trafficking of children and 
        victims of force, fraud, and coercion; and
            (3) clarification of such section is warranted to ensure 
        that such section does not provide such protection to such 
        websites.
SEC. 3. PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION AND RECKLESS DISREGARD OF SEX 
                    TRAFFICKING.

    (a) Promotion of Prostitution.--Chapter 117 of title 18, United 
States Code, is amended by inserting after section 2421 the following:
``Sec. 2421A. <<NOTE: 18 USC 2421A.>>  Promotion or facilitation 
                    of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex 
                    trafficking

    ``(a) In General.--Whoever, using a facility or means of interstate 
or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, 
owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (as such term 
is defined in defined in section 230(f) the Communications Act of 1934 
(47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or attempts to do so, with the intent 
to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person shall be 
fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
    ``(b) Aggravated Violation.--Whoever, using a facility or means of 
interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate

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or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer 
service (as such term is defined in defined in section 230(f) the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f))), or conspires or attempts 
to do so, with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of 
another person and--
            ``(1) promotes or facilitates the prostitution of 5 or more 
        persons; or
            ``(2) acts in reckless disregard of the fact that such 
        conduct contributed to sex trafficking, in violation of 1591(a),

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 25 years, 
or both.
    ``(c) Civil Recovery.--Any person injured by reason of a violation 
of section 2421A(b) may recover damages and reasonable attorneys' fees 
in an action before any appropriate United States district court.
    ``(d) Mandatory Restitution.--Notwithstanding sections 3663 or 3663A 
and in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties authorized by 
law, the court shall order restitution for any violation of subsection 
(b)(2). The scope and nature of such restitution shall be consistent 
with section 2327(b).
    ``(e) Affirmative Defense.--It shall be an affirmative defense to a 
charge of violating subsection (a), or subsection (b)(1) where the 
defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the promotion 
or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction where the 
promotion or facilitation was targeted.''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for such chapter is 
amended <<NOTE: 18 USC prec. 2421.>>  by inserting after the item 
relating to section 2421 the following:

``2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless 
           disregard of sex trafficking.''.

SEC. 4. ENSURING ABILITY TO ENFORCE FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL AND 
                    CIVIL LAW RELATING TO SEX TRAFFICKING.

    (a) In General.--Section 230(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 
(47 U.S.C. 230(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) No effect on sex trafficking law.--Nothing in this 
        section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to 
        impair or limit--
                    ``(A) any claim in a civil action brought under 
                section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, if the 
                conduct underlying the claim constitutes a violation of 
                section 1591 of that title;
                    ``(B) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought 
                under State law if the conduct underlying the charge 
                would constitute a violation of section 1591 of title 
                18, United States Code; or
                    ``(C) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought 
                under State law if the conduct underlying the charge 
                would constitute a violation of section 2421A of title 
                18, United States Code, and promotion or facilitation of 
                prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction where the 
                defendant's promotion or facilitation of prostitution 
                was targeted.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: Applicability. 47 USC 230 note.>>  Effective Date.--The 
amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the 
enactment of this Act, and the amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply regardless of

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whether the conduct alleged occurred, or is alleged to have occurred, 
before, on, or after such date of enactment.
SEC. 5. ENSURING FEDERAL LIABILITY FOR PUBLISHING INFORMATION 
                    DESIGNED TO FACILITATE SEX TRAFFICKING OR 
                    OTHERWISE FACILITATING SEX TRAFFICKING.

    Section 1591(e) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs 
        (5) and (6), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
            ``(4) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  The term `participation in a 
        venture' means knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating 
        a violation of subsection (a)(1).''.
SEC. 6. ACTIONS BY STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL.

    (a) In General.--Section 1595 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(d) In any case in which the attorney general of a State has 
reason to believe that an interest of the residents of that State has 
been or is threatened or adversely affected by any person who violates 
section 1591, the attorney general of the State, as parens patriae, may 
bring a civil action against such person on behalf of the residents of 
the State in an appropriate district court of the United States to 
obtain appropriate relief.''.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--Section 1595 of title 18, 
United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subsection (b)(1), by striking ``this section'' and 
        inserting ``subsection (a)''; and
            (2) in subsection (c), in the matter preceding paragraph 
        (1), by striking ``this section'' and inserting ``subsection 
        (a)''.
SEC. 7. <<NOTE: 47 USC 230 note.>>  SAVINGS CLAUSE.

    Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be 
construed to limit or preempt any civil action or criminal prosecution 
under Federal law or State law (including State statutory law and State 
common law) filed before or after the day before the date of enactment 
of this Act that was not limited or preempted by section 230 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230), as such section was in 
effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 8. <<NOTE: Time period. Reports.>>  GAO STUDY.

    On the date that is 3 years after the date of the enactment of this 
Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study 
and submit to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of 
Representatives and of the Senate, the Committee on Homeland Security of 
the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs of the Senate, a report which includes the 
following:
            (1) Information on each civil action brought pursuant to 
        section 2421A(c) of title 18, United States Code, that resulted 
        in an award of damages, including the amount claimed, the nature 
        or description of the losses claimed to support the amount 
        claimed, the losses proven, and the nature or description of the 
        losses proven to support the amount awarded.
            (2) Information on each civil action brought pursuant to 
        section 2421A(c) of title 18, United States Code, that did not 
        result in an award of damages, including--

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                    (A) the amount claimed and the nature or description 
                of the losses claimed to support the amount claimed; and
                    (B) whether the case was dismissed, and if the case 
                was dismissed, information describing the reason for the 
                dismissal.
            (3) Information on each order of restitution entered 
        pursuant to section 2421A(d) of title 18, United States Code, 
        including--
                    (A) whether the defendant was a corporation or an 
                individual;
                    (B) the amount requested by the Government and the 
                justification for, and calculation of, the amount 
                requested, if restitution was requested; and
                    (C) the amount ordered by the court and the 
                justification for, and calculation of, the amount 
                ordered.
            (4) For each defendant convicted of violating section 
        2421A(b) of title 18, United States Code, that was not ordered 
        to pay restitution--
                    (A) whether the defendant was a corporation or an 
                individual;
                    (B) the amount requested by the Government, if 
                restitution was requested; and
                    (C) information describing the reason that the court 
                did not order restitution.

    Approved April 11, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1865:
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HOUSE REPORTS: No. 115-572, Pt. 1 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Feb. 27, considered and passed House.
            Mar. 21, considered and passed Senate.
DAILY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS (2018):
            Apr. 11, Presidential remarks.

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