WASHINGTON – This week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), along with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), announced the recovery of 84 minors and the arrests of 120 traffickers as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15, 2017. Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) released the following statement applauding the FBI’s crackdown and calling on Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA):
“This month, 84 children were saved from a life of terror. And while I applaud the FBI’s efforts in the fight against trafficking, online sex trafficking continues practically unabated. This is largely because the methods of recruitment and sale of sex trafficking victims have evolved with technology—but our laws have remained static. Research shows that underage victims are increasingly likely to first meet their trafficker online, and the majority of underage victims have also been advertised or sold online. Congress must amend Section 230 of the CDA to clarify that sex trafficking is not protected by Section 230’s immunity provisions. It is time to protect the women and children being sold into sex slavery instead of websites that trafficked them.”
BACKGROUND ON WAGNER EFFORTS TO AMEND THE CDA
In April, Congresswoman Wagner introduced the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation has already been co-sponsored by over 161 members of the House and would lift barriers that have prevented the federal government, states, and victims of sex trafficking from pursuing justice against America’s modern-day slave markets.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 has been wrongly interpreted to shield websites that participate in sex trafficking from any criminal liability. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has said that it is Congress’ role to clarify the intersection between Section 230 and sex trafficking laws. This legislation would provide that urgently needed clarification while safeguarding the freedom of the Internet.
As the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found in Backpage.com, LLC, vs. Loretta Lynch in 2016, “there is no doubt” that online advertisements that promote sex trafficking are “not afforded First Amendment protection.” This legislation would make clear that Congress never intended Section 230 to create a lawless internet where bad actors can engage in criminal activity online that they cannot engage in offline. This is already obvious to our state authorities: Earlier this year, 50 State Attorneys General called on Congress to amend the CDA to restore jurisdiction to state authorities who are tasked with protecting America’s children.
The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 would:
1) Amend Section 230 to allow state authorities to investigate and prosecute websites that facilitate sex trafficking using state criminal statutes that prohibit sex trafficking or sexual exploitation of children.
2) Amend Section 230 to allow victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children to exercise civil remedies, such as the private right of action available to sex trafficking victims in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
3) Amend 18 U.S.C. § 1591, the sex trafficking statute, to define “participation in a venture” in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s 2016 decision in Jane Doe vs. Backpage.com, LLC.
4) Amend 18 U.S.C. § 1591 to clarify that it is unlawful for a provider of an interactive computer service to publish information provided by an information content provider, with reckless disregard that the information is in furtherance of a sex trafficking offense.
WASHINGTON – This afternoon, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent a letter to Jeff Bezos, the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon.com, in support of the St. Louis area bid for Amazon HQ2.
“As the longstanding ‘Gateway to the West,’ St. Louis’ identity is complementary to Amazon’s mission of connecting the world through commerce,” states the joint letter. “The entire St. Louis area is in the throes of an exciting transformation,” they added. “We have no doubt an Amazon presence in St. Louis would bolster the ongoing developments that are already creating long and meaningful change. Now, during the early onset of this transformation, is the time for Amazon to invest itself in the region.”
The full text of the letter to Jeff Bezos is below and attached:
Chief Executive Officer
c/o Site Manager Golden
2121 7th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
October 18, 2017
Dear Mr. Bezos,
We write you in unified support for the St. Louis Economic Partnership’s Amazon HQ2 proposal. As congressional representatives of the region, we are confident that the strengths of the St. Louis area provide an ideal setting for the Amazon family.
The St. Louis region has a metro population of over one million people and spans across two states. As the longstanding “Gateway to the West,” St. Louis’ identity is complementary to Amazon’s mission of connecting the world through commerce. The region has unparalleled access to some of the largest national rivers, highways, and railroads. Additionally our international airport offers necessary and available infrastructure for your company to operate in a global market.
The entire St. Louis area is in the throes of an exciting transformation. The developments of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency regional headquarters and the Microsoft Technology Center in St. Louis have paved the way for substantial investment all throughout the region. St. Louis also boasts one of the fastest growing tech and start up scenes, which has been bolstered by the critical support of local officials. We have no doubt an Amazon presence in St. Louis would bolster the ongoing developments that are already creating long and meaningful change. Now, during the early onset of this transformation, is the time for Amazon to invest itself in the region.
Perhaps the best testament to St. Louis’ suitability for Amazon is its strong sense of community. The people of St. Louis are proud to dig their roots in a hometown with high-quality education, a low cost of living, and ample opportunity. We are blessed with a vibrant culture that includes multiple world-class universities, the largest outdoor theater in America, one of the largest urban parks in the world, and numerous attractions that are free to the public. Collectively, St. Louis is a diverse and welcoming region that is well suited for the Amazon community to grow and thrive in for generations.
We enthusiastically support the St. Louis region’s bid for Amazon HQ2 and we encourage you to reach out to our offices so that we may personally convey why we believe St. Louis is the prime location for Amazon’s second home.
Blaine Luetkemeyer Ann Wagner
Member of Congress Member of CongressRead More
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement on President Donald J. Trump’s reevaluation of the Iran Deal.
“The greatest threat facing the United States and our allies in the Middle East is a nuclear Iran,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “From day one I stood firmly against the dangerous Iran nuclear agreement struck by the Obama Administration. This deal was a fundamental mistake that weakened U.S. credibility to push back on Iran; and it would ultimately allow the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to access funds and equipment from abroad to use against our allies. I applaud President Trump’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance with this flawed deal, and the Foreign Affairs Committee will work with House Leadership and the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to confront Iran’s destabilizing actions.”
WASHINGTON - Following President Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and in light of the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) sent a joint letter to United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer raising concerns about the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s and Internet Association’s comments recommending that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be added to a revised NAFTA. The letter called on Ambassador Lighthizer to protect sex trafficking victims and heed the ongoing congressional process with respect to Section 230.
“As you discuss recommendations from stakeholders, we would like to raise an issue that gives us tremendous cause for concern. It has come to our attention that the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Internet Association have submitted comments recommending that the language of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 47 U.S. Code§ 230, be added to a revised NAFTA. This finding is deeply disturbing to the many members of the House who are currently working to amend Section 230,” states the joint letter. “Furthermore, including Section 230 in NAFTA in its current form would export a destructive legal battle that will harm sex trafficking victims advertised in Mexico and Canada. Given that Mexico may be the largest source country for sex trafficking victims in the United States, and that Mexico is ranked as a Tier 2 country on the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons report, we urge you to ensure that any digital trade language in NAFT A does not immunize any company from profiting from the commercialization of sex trafficking, at home or abroad. The United States is a leader in the fight against modem-day slavery, and it would be devastating to set such a harmful example by including Section 230 in NAFTA in its present form.”
The full text of the letter to Ambassador Lighthizer is below and attached:
October 12, 2017
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer
Office of the US Trade Representative
600 17th St. NW
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
We appreciate your strong leadership in promoting U.S. trade and in negotiating .revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NA.FT A) language. As you discuss recommendations from stakeholders, we would like to raise an issue that gives us tremendous cause for concern. It has come to our attention that the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Internet Association have submitted comments recommending that the language of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 47 U.S. Code§ 230, be added to a revised NAFTA.
This finding is deeply disturbing to the many members of the House who are currently working to amend Section 230. We are pleased to be joined by 139 of our colleagues on legislation that would address how Section 230 has been interpreted to protect websites that facilitate online sex trafficking. Like us, our colleagues understand that when Congress passed Section 230 in 1996, it never intended the provision to be used to protect sex trafficking.
In fact, the opposite was the case. Senator James "Jim" Exon (D-Nebraska, 1979-1997), who introduced the CDA, said on the Senate floor that "the information superhighway should not become a red light district." Section 230 was written to protect websites that were acting as "good Samaritans" in removing illegal or offensive content.
But over time, courts have applied an overly broad interpretation to Section 230 that essentially provides immunity to websites like Backpage.com that facilitate illegal sex trafficking. Last year, the First Circuit ruled that there is now a fundamental tension between Section 230 and the nation's sex trafficking laws, and that this tension can only be resolved through legislation, not litigation. Congress is eager to provide a solution to the many victims who have been denied justice due to Section 230's broad interpretation.
Any efforts by the USTR to include the current version of Section 230 in NAFTA would undermine our legislative work to combat sex trafficking in the United States and undermine our ability to hold accountable marketplaces that facilitate this crime for financial gain. We trust you will recognize the severity of this issue and understand our concern with attempts to circumvent our nation's elected representatives by installing Section 230 in its current form into international trade agreements.
We urge you to heed the ongoing congressional process with respect to Section 230. Section 230 is an impo1iant tool for U.S. internet companies, but it should not be expanded to our neighbors in its current form. We would be happy to work with your office to discuss revised Section 230 language that protects victims of sex trafficking.
As a reference, our legislation, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, along with Senate companion legislation, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, would surgically amend Section 230 to:
Section 230 already allows enforcement of all Federal criminal law and some state laws, including a carve-out for the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and similar state laws and all state and federal intellectual property laws. We hope you will agree that protecting the rights of U.S. sex trafficking victims is at least as important as protecting the intellectual property rights of industry, musicians, and others.
Furthermore, including Section 230 in NAFTA in its current form would export a destructive legal battle that will harm sex trafficking victims advertised in Mexico and Canada. Given that Mexico may be the largest source country for sex trafficking victims in the United States, and that Mexico is ranked as a Tier 2 country on the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons report, we urge you to ensure that any digital trade language in NAFT A does not immunize any company from profiting from the commercialization of sex trafficking, at home or abroad.
The United States is a leader in the fight against modem-day slavery, and it would be devastating to set such a harmful example by including Section 230 in NAFTA in its present form.
Ann Wagner Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Joyce Beatty Chris Smith
Member of Congress Member of CongressRead More
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) released the following statement following the House Financial Services Committee’s passage of the Protecting Advice For Small Savers (PASS) Act Of 2017 and the Risk-Based Credit Examination Act of 2017:
“Today, we moved one step closer to providing relief for low and middle income investors and savers. The PASS Act of 2017 will finally repeal the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule and protect main street savers by creating a best interest standard for broker-dealers that benefits consumers and protects their access to affordable investment advice.
“In addition, the House Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 3911 with a bipartisan vote of 60-0. H.R. 3911, the Risk-Based Credit Examinations Act of 2017, would make the criteria required in annual reporting by National Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations just that, risk based.”
Key Organizations Supporting the PASS Act: U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC), American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Financial Services Institute (FSI), Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), Investment Company Institute (ICI), Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), American Bankers Association (ABA), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA)
Key Organizations Supporting the Risk-Based Credit Examinations Act of 2017: Credit Union National Association (CUNA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC)
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Leverage to Enhance Effective Diplomacy Act of 2017, along with Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI). This comprehensive bill would supplement efforts in search of a diplomatic solution to the threat of North Korea’s developing nuclear capabilities, authorize efforts to combat Pyongyang’s widespread human rights and labor trafficking abuses, and apply economic and diplomatic pressure to North Korea and those who enable it. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA).
“With tensions rising, North Korea continues to be a destabilizing force in the region and around the world,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “We must continue to impose additional secondary sanctions and work with our allies in the region to isolate Kim Jong-un’s regime and peacefully denuclearize the Korean peninsula. For far too long, this regime has gotten away with developing nuclear and military capabilities, threatening countries around the world, and committing grave human rights and labor trafficking abuses against its people. It is time for a stronger, more comprehensive North Korea policy,” she added.
“The dangerous rhetoric and actions from North Korea present a grave challenge to the world,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Strategic diplomacy, in full cooperation with our allies, is the only responsible course of action. I am proud to join Rep. Wagner in introducing this legislation as a companion to the Senate bill sponsored by Sens. Gardner and Markey. This important bill would strengthen our ability to block financial transactions between North Korea and those who continue to conduct prohibited business with that regime. Toughening our ability to enforce sanctions against North Korea is a key step toward starting productive talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, she added.”
“For more than twenty years, American foreign policy has failed to fundamentally change North Korean behavior,” said Congressman Gallagher. “It is long past time that the United States change its approach to impose significant costs on actors that support and enable the Kim regime’s reckless aggression. The LEED Act takes an important step by making crystal clear that those who do business with Pyongyang will not be welcome to do business with America,” he added.
BACKGROUND ON THE LEVERAGE TO ENHANCE EFFECTIVE DIPLOMACY ACT OF 2017:
Human Rights Support
North Korea Policy Review
North Korea Isolation Strategy
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) released the following statement after introducing The Protecting Advice for Small Savers (PASS) Act Of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule is already hurting Main Street Americans by eliminating investment choices and raising costs. According to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, low and middle income retirement savings investors have already begun to experience a negative impact on their ability to save and invest for their future as a result of the DOL’s regulatory overreach. The PASS Act will protect these investors by creating a best interest standard for broker-dealers that benefits consumers and protects their access to financial advice.
“America is in the midst of a savings crisis and this legislation will ensure it is easier for families to save and invest, not harder. At the end of the day, every family should have access to affordable investment products and the confidence that their best interest is being served.”
Background on the PASS Act:
Key Organizations Supporting the PASS Act: U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC), American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Financial Services Institute (FSI), Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), Investment Company Institute (ICI), Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), American Bankers Association (ABA), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA)Read More
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the below statement following passage of H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act:
“For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. House of Representatives passed all 12 appropriations bills to responsibly fund the federal government and advance the conservative Republican principles we promised to pursue,” said Rep. Ann Wagner. “The appropriations work we completed today prioritizes the needs of the American people, cuts wasteful government spending, and takes concrete steps to help lift up Missouri’s families and small businesses. These bills include big wins for the St. Louis region and underscore my commitment to defending life, supporting and strengthening our military, and energizing the local economy,” she added.
BACKGROUND ON KEY ISSUES ADDRESSED IN THE FY18 APPROPIATIONS BILLS
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the below statement following her vote against raising the debt ceiling.
“I promised the people of St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis Counties that I would go to Washington to cut up the government's credit card and put a stop to wasteful federal government spending. What Congress voted on today did neither. Tying reckless spending policy to desperately needed emergency disaster relief sums up what people, myself included, hate about Washington politics. Today should have been about providing emergency resources for disaster relief and recovery, not playing beltway politics and punting on our national debt.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Oracle has announced its strong endorsement of H.R. 1865, Rep. Ann Wagner’s Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. H.R. 1865 narrowly amends the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) to hold websites like Backpage.com that facilitate sex trafficking accountable for their criminal activities.
In response to the endorsement letter, Rep. Wagner said, “Congress, law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and responsible businesses across the country are uniting to pass the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. It’s heartbreaking to watch survivors struggle to piece their lives back together without access to justice, while the websites that sold them are raking in millions of dollars,” she added. “I am thankful that leaders like Oracle in the big tech industry are supporting the fight against sex trafficking. Amending Section 230 of the CDA is the only way to ensure companies like Backpage.com are unable to commit sex trafficking crimes online that they cannot commit offline. Anyone thinking with their conscience instead of their pocket book would agree.”
In its endorsement letter to Rep. Wagner, Oracle wrote:
“We commend your leadership on this issue. As several investigations have demonstrated, sex trafficking has exploded in large part due to nefarious Internet actors that knowingly facilitate and profit from it. We agree that congressional action is necessary to put an end to this tragic exploitation of human beings and hold its online accomplices to account. We appreciate that, in keeping with your strong track record of supporting the growth of the Internet and information technology industry, you have worked hard to craft a thoughtful bill to hold bad actors liable.
The fact is that technological capabilities that are available today are light years away from those that existed in 1996, when the commercial Internet was just beginning. Back then, Internet startups would be launched with little to no ability to review and monitor the content they hosted. More importantly, sex trafficking and other heinous crimes had not begun to proliferate on the Internet. Nonetheless, we are 100 percent confident that a Wagner amendment – identical to HR 1865 – offered to the Communications Decency Act in 1996 would have passed the House overwhelmingly and the Internet would have enjoyed the same exponential growth and innovation over the past twenty one years. Frankly we are stunned you must even have this debate.
Today, the state of technology is far different than it was in 1996. Any start-up has access to low cost and virtually unlimited computing power and to advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and filtering software. That capability is also offered as a service in the cloud. The business success of Internet and mobile computing platforms depends on their ability to precisely analyze, arrange and segment applications, data and content, to accurately target them at their most relevant audiences – along with advertising, of course – not to blindly run platforms with no control of the content.
Your legislation does not, as suggested by the bill’s opponents, usher the end of the Internet. If enacted, it will establish some measure of accountability for those that cynically sell advertising but are unprepared to help curtail sex trafficking.”
Oracle’s full letter is attached. Oracle HR 1865 support.pdfRead More
435 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Ann Wagner’s career is both deep and broad in service to her hometown, state and nation with over 25 years of work in the private sector, community and public service, and the political arena.
The 2nd District means family for Ann. It is where she and her husband of twenty-five years, Ray, grew up, went to school, raised their children, work, volunteer and go to church. This community has given her extraordinary opportunities to make a difference.
At an early age, Ann started working in the family business, a retail carpet store called Carpetime in Manchester. Working beside her parents she learned the value of a dollar, a strong work ethic, honesty, integrity, and that government ought not be in the way and on the backs of hard-working Americans trying to make a living.
Ann then took her firsthand experience to the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her BSBA from the Business School with an emphasis in Logistics. After college, Ann went to work in the private sector and held management positions at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and Ralston Purina in St. Louis.
Ann’s most important jobs, however, have always been as a wife and mother. Ann and Ray have three children: Raymond, a recent West Point graduate stationed at Fort Campbell with the 101st Airborne; Stephen, a Client Services Manager for a St. Louis area financial management company; and Mary Ruth, a freshmen at Miami University in Ohio.
Ann Wagner’s public service began at the grassroots level. She served for nine years as a local committeewoman in Lafayette Township and went on to Chair the Missouri Republican Party delivering historic Republican gains. She also served as Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the first term of President George W. Bush.
In 2005, following nomination by President Bush and confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Ann was sworn in as the 19th U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She served as U.S. Ambassador for four years before returning to her home in Ballwin, Missouri.
In 2010, Ann was asked to serve as the Chairman of Roy Blunt’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri. Bringing her high energy and political skills to the campaign, Ann helped unite existing and new conservative grassroots activists to produce a landslide victory.
Ann announced her first run for public office on April 26, 2011 and has attended hundreds of events including forums, debates, picnics, meetings and rallies. Her signature grassroots “Table Tops” have been a listening and learning tour in homes all across the district. Her strong connection to her community has helped Ann recruit hundreds of volunteers from every corner of the 2nd Congressional District.
Ann won her 2012 Congressional race with over 60% of the vote and received more votes than any other Republican candidate for Congress in the State of Missouri this cycle.
Ann will serve on the House Financial Services Committee – a key committee for the 2nd District and St. Louis region. St. Louis and its suburbs are national and regional centers for financial services activity. Over 84,000 people in St. Louis and its suburbs are employed in the financial services industry with a total payroll of around $4.57 billion.
The St. Louis area is also home to national investment firms including Edward Jones, Scottrade, Stifel Financial and Wells Fargo Advisors, to name a few, making it one of the largest clusters of brokerage firms and personnel outside of New York.
Ann was also selected by the Freshman Class of the 113th Congress to be their representative on the Elected Leadership Committee.
Retweeted by RepAnnWagner