President Trump on Wednesday signed a sex trafficking bill that reduces legal protections for websites that enable sex trafficking.
Joined by lawmakers and victims of sex trafficking, the president praised the legislation and told victims he was signing the bill “in your honor.”
“You have endured what no person on earth should have to endure,” he added.
The legislation, called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), but also referred to as SESTA after the original Senate bill, cuts into the broad protections websites have from legal liability for content posted by their users.
The bill passed easily in both the House and Senate, but faced some opposition from lawmakers who worried that smaller internet companies would face frivolous lawsuits or lack the resources to police content they shouldn’t be held liable for.
Some tech companies like Facebook, IBM and Oracle embraced the bill, while other organizations remained silent as it made its way through Congress.
Trump addressed some of the controversy surrounding the bill during Wednesday’s signing.
“This was a tough one. It shouldn’t have been tough,” Trump said. “I guess people have reasons [to oppose the legislation], but I personally don’t understand those reasons."
The bill signing took place two days after federal prosecutors indicted executives for Backpage.com on a series of money laundering and prostitution charges. The indictment accuses Backpage of allowing prostitution ads featuring underage sex-trafficking victims.
And yes, free speech is there to protect prostitution