The House is in session Monday through Thursday this week. Among the legislation the House will consider is H.R. 1865. This legislation is designed to hold internet companies accountable when they allow human traffickers to use their platform. The bill specified companies shall be held liable if they acted in a “reckless” conduct in allowing sex trafficking.

An amendment would impose a knowledge requirement to convict a website provider. It also provides some protection to make sure sites that monitor for human trafficking activity are not held liable when a bad apple falls through the cracks. This amendment parallels the Senate version of the bill.

While everyone supports stopping those forcing individuals into any action against their will, both versions of the bill have flaws. The reckless disregard undermines the foundations of western law and could be used by over-zealous prosecutors to put individuals in jail for crimes they not only did not intend to commit but actually had no way of knowing was going on.

These concerns are magnified by the statutes failure to define reckless disregard, meaning prosecutors will determine what constitutes reckless disregard without guidance from the legislature. The best way to address this issue is to let states decide how to prosecute human traffickers.

The suspension calendar this week is bills authorizing funding for research and treatment for a variety of health care issues including dental treatment, sickle cell, and heart failure.