NJ Human Trafficking Limits Blocked by Court

     NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – New Jersey cannot enforce its newly passed human-trafficking law amid claims that its parameters are too vague, a federal judge ruled.
     Gov. Chris Christie signed the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act, officially known as N.J. P.L. c. 51 § 12(b)(1), in May to “strengthen state law by increasing penalties for and providing resources to prevent human trafficking in New Jersey,” according to a statement.
     But the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represents the Internet Archive, argued in a complaint last week that the new law both conflicts with federal statues and “could impose stiff penalties – up to 20 years in prison and steep fines on ISPs, Internet cafes, and libraries that ‘indirectly’ cause the publication, dissemination, or display of content that contains even an ‘implicit’ offer of a commercial sex act if the content includes an image of a minor.”
     “Especially given the vagueness of the standard, service providers would feel enormous pressure to block access to broad swaths of otherwise protected material in order to minimize the risk of such harsh penalties,” the EFF said in a statement.
     It called the New Jersey statute a near carbon copy of a Washington law that the EFF and the Internet Archive successfully blocked last year.
     Backpage.corn and The Internet Archive moved for temporary restraining orders, and U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh granted them relief Friday, finding that they “have satisfied the grounds for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.” “Defendants are hereby enjoined from taking any actions to enforce [the Act] or pursue prosecution under this specific provision of the act in any way until further order of this court or amendment by appellate order,” he added.
     Cavanaugh also ordered the defendants to file an opposition brief no later than July 19.

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