‘It Could Be Your Child’

 ‘The Truth Is Backpage.Com And Other Sites Are Making Millions Of Dollars By Exploiting Our Children And Allowing Them To Be Taken Advantage [Of] By Predators.’

The Communications Decency Act ‘Was Not Intended To Allow Companies To Legally Sell Children On The Internet’

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “…the Communications Decency Act was never intended to protect those that engage in illegal conduct and it was certainly never intended to protect online predators and sex traffickers.” (U.S. Senate, Commerce Committee, Hearing, 9/17/2017)

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): “This bill includes long-overdue changes to current law that has for too long protected Backpage and other websites from being held liable for enabling these horrific crimes. …there is broad, bipartisan support to change the status quo and hold all those facilitating online sex trafficking accountable.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 2/27/2018)

  • SEN. McCAIN (R-AZ): “This legislation is critical to eliminating legal protections for websites like Backpage.com that have knowingly and recklessly facilitated the online sex trafficking of innocent young women and girls. Importantly, our bill would criminalize commercial activity that assists, supports, or facilitates a violation of federal sex trafficking laws and would enable state law enforcement officials – not just the Department of Justice – to take action against individuals or businesses that violate federal sex trafficking laws. We cannot allow these heinous crimes to go unprosecuted. It is our duty to end the victimization and exploitation of men, women and children through sex trafficking, and deliver the victims of this monstrous crime the justice they deserve.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 11/8/2017)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “We must do all we can to ensure victims of human trafficking receive the justice they deserve, and the first step is holding those who facilitate this heinous crime accountable… Child sex traffickers and their enablers should not be able to hide on the internet any longer.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 8/2/2017)

All 50 State Attorneys General: “The recent news highlighting the potential complicity of online classified-ad company Backpage.com in soliciting sex traffickers’ ads for its website once again underscores the need to expand, not limit, the ability of all law-enforcement agencies to fight sex. The undersigned Attorneys General once again respectfully request that the United States Congress amend the CDA to affirm that state, territorial, and local authorities retain their traditional jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute those who facilitate illicit acts and endanger our most vulnerable citizens…. It is both ironic and tragic that the CDA, which was intended to protect children from indecent material on the internet, is now used as a shield by those who profit from prostitution and crimes against children.” (50 State Attorneys General, Letter To Congress, 8/16/2017)

Endorsements From Anti-Trafficking Advocates: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Shared Hope, Polaris Project, ECPAT-USA, Rights4Girls, World Without Exploitation, PROTECT, National Children's Alliance Trafficking in America Taskforce, Covenant House, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), Living Bread. Lynch Foundation for Children, Legal Momentum, Freegrance, Grace Farms Foundation, African American Juvenile Justice Project, DeliverFund, Survivors for Solutions, Fair Girls, Courtney's House, Teens Against Trafficking Faith Community: Faith & Freedom Coalition, Family Research Council, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, National Council of Jewish Women,The Catholic Association, Friends Committee on National Legislation, United Methodist Church Civil Rights: National Urban League Law Enforcement: National District Attorneys Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Major Cities Chiefs and Police Organizations Industry: The Internet Association, Oracle, 21st Century Fox, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), CoStar Group, The American Hotel and Lodging Association, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott International, Mastercard. (Sen. Portman, Press Release, 3/14/2018)

‘On Christmas Eve 2016 …Yvonne Ambrose Should Have Been Enjoying The Company Of Her Family And Celebrating’

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “On Christmas Eve 2016, while Yvonne Ambrose should have been enjoying the company of her family and celebrating the holiday, she was instead grappling with the news that her 16-year-old daughter, Desiree, was found murdered in a parking garage that morning. As the heartbroken mother has described, Desiree was being sold for sex on Backpage.com – the leading website for online sex trafficking – when she was murdered. Yvonne is, sadly, one of many mothers whose daughters have been exploited on the internet. For too long, websites like Backpage, that knowingly run ads selling underage girls, have escaped liability and justice. Courts have ruled that the website is protected by broad immunity from a 1996 law called the Communications Decency Act. When the law was enacted, the goal was to protect website operators acting in good faith who lacked knowledge that third parties were posting harmful or illegal content on their sites. Now it protects knowing sex traffickers.” (Sen. Portman, Op-Ed, “History Will Judge Those Who Don't Stop Sex Trafficking,” The Guardian, 9/19/2017)

YVONNE AMBROSE: “[My daughter Desiree Robinson] was only 16- years-old and just wanted to make friends. We now know that adult men found Desiree on social media, reached out to her, pressured her and used her to make money. She was preyed on and sold online by pimps who took advantage of her. Desiree didn't know what Backpage.com was or the harm that would come from this website. On December 23rd, 2016 a 32-year-old man by the name of Antonio Rosales was looking through Backpage.com for a child to have sex with. … Desiree was driven to Antonio's residence by the pimp with the intent of having sex with this 32-year-old man, a man twice her age. This was the last night of my daughter's life and her pictures were posted and moderated by Backpage.com and this was the reason for her demise. On Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2016 Desiree, my baby was brutally murdered and now my life is changed forever. She had been beaten, raped, strangled, and if that wasn't bad enough, he slit her throat all because she said no, she didn't want to do this again. She screamed for help and there was no one around to help her. … The truth is Backpage.com and other sites are making millions of dollars by exploiting our children and allowing them to be taken advantage [of] by predators. If we don't speak up now, these websites will continue to profit of trafficking our babies. It could be your child, your niece, your nephew, your cousins, your friend's children is next if you don't stop this.” (U.S. Senate, Commerce Committee, Hearing, 9/17/2017)

  • MS. AMBROSE: “I'm sure when this act was put into place in '96, the Internet was in its infancy and it was not intended to allow companies to legally sell children on the Internet, but somehow a dollar has become more important than a human life. If you're going to fix this problem, fix it. … I pray that Desiree's life can make a difference, so no one else has to ever endure this pain again. I'm asking you, the U.S. Senate to amend Section 230 and be the change you want to see in this world, not only for the justice for Desiree, but for all the countless Jane Does out here and the other little girls to come who don't have a voice. We have to be the change now to protect our babies from websites like Backpage.com that open the door for predators without any accountability. My name is Yvonne Ambrose. I am the mother of the late Desiree Robinson. And I'm asking you, the U.S. Senate, to change Section 230 and support the bipartisan legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, not only for my baby, but for the protection of yours and others to come.” (U.S. Senate, Commerce Committee, Hearing, 9/17/2017)


Related Issues: Combating Sex Trafficking, Law Enforcement, Defending Life