Bipartisan Legislation Introduced by 19 Senators to Hold Backpage Accountable, Ensure Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking - RB Law - RB Law
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Bipartisan Legislation Introduced by 19 Senators to Hold Backpage Accountable, Ensure Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017 by Romanucci & Blandin

Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), in conjunction with a bi-partisan group of 17 other Senators, announced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Bill to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that controversial websites such as Backpage.com can be held liable and brought to justice. The new legislation follows a two-year Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) inquiry, led by Sen. Portman and Sen. McCaskill, which culminated in a report entitled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking,” which found that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.

Tragically, there are countless young children across our country who are being sold for sex on Backpage.com on a daily basis. All the while, we believe that Backpage.com is editing, modifying, and creating content to help the traffickers themselves. Day after day this site continues to profit off of the pimps who are soliciting underage children for sex while hiding behind the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Despite numerous criminal and civil lawsuits filed against Backpage.com, efforts to prove the website liable for the sex-trafficking of minors have failed, primarily due to the cloak of protections Section 230 has provided them.

We are confident and extremely hopeful, that the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Bill, which has received strong bi-partisan support, will serve as a turning point in this fight. Additionally, the measure has been endorsed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and other anti-trafficking advocates and law enforcement organizations.

Over the last several months, our law firm has had the privilege of representing Yvonne Ambrose on behalf of the estate of her daughter Desiree Robinson, a 16-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by a 32-year old man in a Chicago garage on Christmas Eve 2016. Desiree had fallen victim to sex trafficking and unfortunately, like many other young girls, was featured in solicitation posts on Backpage.com. We must all continue this fight on behalf of Desiree and the thousands of other young children and their families whose lives will never be the same as a result of Backpage’s behavior.

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