Wagner leads bipartisan call for trade agreements to help prevent online human trafficking

Rep. Ann Wagner

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) recently led several colleagues in urging the U.S. Trade Representative to include “Wagner Language” in future trade agreements to help protect victims of human trafficking. 

Wagner Language contained in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would ensure partner nations could enact domestic laws that empower victims of human trafficking and hold websites accountable for facilitating the sex trade, according to a July 22 bipartisan letter Rep. Wagner and her colleagues sent to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

“We recognize the ongoing debate regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, both in and outside the context of trade agreements,” the members wrote. “We urge you to ensure that, if Section 230 language is included in future trade agreements, these agreements also incorporate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s “Wagner Language” to prevent online human trafficking and online child exploitation.”

Among the lawmakers who joined Rep. Wagner in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Katko (R-NY), Blake Moore (R-UT), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH).

According to their letter, Wagner Language guaranteed the USMCA will uphold the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, enacted in 2018 to amend Section 230 to remove criminal and civil liability protections from websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate human trafficking.

Since its implementation, the law “has been successfully used by the U.S. government to seize websites that perpetuate these heinous crimes and hold accountable those who own and profit from such websites,” Rep. Wagner and her colleagues wrote. “Any trade agreement that includes language similar to Section 230 must also include these critical protections for trafficking survivors and victims.”