Open letter to WSJ in response to their inaccurate editorial about #FOSTA #SESTA

Lauren Hersh, National Director, World Without Exploitation

Has The Wall Street Journal joined the minority that is using tactics of igniting fear and spreading misinformation to stoke opposition to FOSTA-SESTA? Your editorial, Political Sex-Trafficking Exploitation, is riddled with factual errors.

Here’s the truth. Over the last decade, online exploitation has exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry, ensnaring millions of American children and our most vulnerable adults. Although Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was not designed to shield criminal activity, the current law cloaks websites that facilitate sex trafficking with blanket immunity. The only way to resolve this unintended problem is to close the loophole and clarify the law.

The Wall Street Journal’s assertion that trial lawyers have helmed this effort is not only untrue, but an enormous insult to the survivors who have tirelessly led the charge, urging Congress to stop allowing websites to make millions of dollars off the backs of exploited people. Companies like Facebook, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, 21st Century Fox, Disney and Oracle have joined with local and state law enforcement to call for this change. More than 150 victim-centered organizations have joined the chorus, supporting the FOSTA-SESTA package. Two weeks ago, the House responded with a 388–25 vote in favor of FOSTA-SESTA.

Your readers should be given the facts. This legislation does not restrict freedom of speech, because criminal activity is not protected speech. This legislation isn’t about a lawsuit bonanza, because it narrowly focuses on websites that knowingly facilitate trafficking. This legislation is simply about doing what is right: putting people over profits and working to create a world without exploitation.


Lauren Hersh
National Director
World Without Exploitation