Legislation Could Imperil Payment Processing Services for Some Adult Sites

Legislation Could Imperil Payment Processing Services for Some Adult Sites

WASHINGTON — Some adult site operators could lose access to banking or processing services if the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act is put into law.

H.R. 2219 received resounding approval in the House of Representatives several week ago with a 408-2 vote. Now the piece of legislation heads to the U.S. Senate.

Under H.R. 2219, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council would be directed to review and improve anti-money laundering programs related to human trafficking, as well as policies for referring suspected cases to law enforcement agencies.

The U.S. Department of State additionally would be directed to report on efforts to eliminate money laundering related to human trafficking and to report to Congress on the number of investigations, indictments and convictions.

If the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act passes the Senate and is signed into law, adult site operators should be especially wary of what could come next.  

“If passed, this bill will intensify the anti-money laundering compliance efforts undertaken by banks and financial institutions,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ.

“Given the recent efforts to conflate human trafficking with consensual sex work, some adult website operators could lose access to banking or processing services,” Walters said.

“The oversight mandated by the bill will likely cause banks to err on the side of caution whenever confronted with a customer who might be involved with sex work in some fashion.”

H.R. 2219, authored by Rep. Edward Royce of California, follows one of the biggest legislative blows for online companies — the loss of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Earlier this month, President Trump signed SESTA/FOSTA into law. That law opens more avenues for victims of online sex trafficking to legally pursue websites that facilitate trafficking by amending Section 230, making it easier for prosecutors and private citizens to go after platforms whose sites have been used by traffickers.

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