Rep. Paul Gosar has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to consider launching a federal criminal investigation concerning the OnlyFans online subscription-based service.
The Arizona Republican released a letter Thursday addressed to Mr. Garland raising concerns about OnlyFans and whether it potentially runs afoul of the Mann Act, a federal law prohibiting interstate prostitution.
OnlyFans, launched in 2016, lets users sell access to exclusive content they upload to the service, making it popular among online sex workers who make and share their own X-rated photos and videos.
Mr. Gosar argued, without offering any evidence, that OnlyFans also seems “to facilitate and even encourage interstate travel” as prohibited under the Mann Act by providing a way for parties to meet.
“On this site, individuals can advertise their willingness to travel across state lines for illegal or immoral activity, and the platform providing publicity for these individuals appears to subsidize and capitalize off this travel,” Mr. Gosar wrote about OnlyFans.
“It is worth investigating this issue further, given the volume of activity on this site and anecdotal reports about prostitution, child exploitative material and illicit sexual coercion,” he added.
Under its existing terms of service, OnlyFans prohibits users from uploading, posting, displaying or publishing content that “shows, promoted, advertises or refers” to escort services or prostitution.
Messages requesting comment from OnlyFans and the Department of Justice were not immediately answered.
The Mann Act was first passed in 1910 and originally made it a federal crime to transport a woman across state lines for “immoral” purposes. It has been amended several times in the century since.
Most recently, Congress passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), which updated the Mann Act to add language prohibiting websites facilitating prostitution.
Today I’m writing the U.S. Attorney General requesting an investigation into @OnlyFans for promoting, and profiting from, online prostitution. I encourage @TheJusticeDept to vigorously protect vulnerable people from platforms that promote coercive immoral and sexual activity.
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