February 26, 2018

102 Organizations and Advocates Wrote to the House of Representatives’ Leaders In Support of Legislation to Fight Online Sex Trafficking

The letter below, authored by Yasmin Vafa of Rights4Girls, was sent to the Honorable Paul Ryan and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi on February 26, 2018, in support of H.R. 1865 to fight online sex trafficking. You can download the PDF version here.


Dear Mr. Speaker and Leader Pelosi:

As organizations and leaders in the movement to end human trafficking, we want to thank you for scheduling this important floor vote on H.R. 1865, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), originally introduced by Representative Ann Wagner. The need for legislation to clarify Section 230 of the Communication’s Decency Act (CDA) is urgently needed given the 1st Circuit ruling in Doe v. Backpage. That ruling held that even if Backpage had participated in the crim of sex trafficking, Section 230 shielded the company from the claims filed by child victims.

We greatly appreciate the support of all of the bill’s co-sponsors who fully understand the barriers Section 230 has created in the ability of state law enforcement and survivors to seek justice against websites that are engaged in facilitating human trafficking. To that end, we would like to express our strong support for the crucial amendment being offered by Representative Mimi Walters to the underlying bill that will specifically address the Section 230 problem. Representative Walters’ amendment is critical to stemming the tide of online human trafficking. Importantly, in its ruling, the 1st Circuit Court recommended that child victims seek a legislative remedy to this problem— and the children have done just that.

We are thrilled that the Internet Association (IA), has not only endorsed H.R. 1865, but also its Senate counterpart, S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA) introduced by Senators Rob Portman and Richard Blumenthal. Representative Walters’ amendment mirrors the SESTA legislation that currently has 67 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors.

Assuming the Walters’ amendment is adopted and there are no additional amendments added that would weaken these measures, we strongly urge the House to pass this package and send it to the Senate.

We thank you for your leadership in bringing this important legislation to the floor for a vote. As survivors and advocates dedicated to eradicating human trafficking, we are grateful for your commitment to ensuring that websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking will at long last, be held accountable for their actions.

Sincerely,

1. Shared Hope International
Arlington, VA
2. Rights4Girls
Washington, DC
3. Covenant House International
New York, NY
4. ECPAT USA
Washington, DC
5. World Without Exploitation
New York, NY
6. Mary Mazzio & I AM JANE DOE Community
Boston, MA
7. Courtney’s House
Washington, DC
8. Legal Momentum
New York, NY
9. Equality Now
New York, NY
10. National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Washington, DC
11. My Life My Choice
Boston, MA
12. Truckers Against Trafficking
Englewood, CO
13. Sanctuary For Families
New York, NY
14. Trafficking in America Task Force
Gainesville, FL
15. CSA San Diego County
El Cajon, CA
16. Villanova Law School Institute on Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Villanova, PA
17. National Council of Jewish Women New York
New York, NY
18. Dawn’s Place
Philadelphia, PA
19. Child’s World America
Villanova, PA
20. Freedom From Exploitation, Inc.
San Diego, CA
21. Women’s Justice NOW
New York, NY
22. Children’s Law Center of California
Sacramento, CA
23. Carole Landis Foundation For Social Action
Haverford, PA
24. The Voices and Faces Project
Chicago, IL
25. NH Traffick Free Coalition
Milford, NH
26. The Samaritan Women
Baltimore, MD
27. Free to Thrive
San Diego, CA
28. Enough Is Enough
Great Falls, VA
29. The Lynch Foundation for Children
Ranchero Santa Fe, CA
30. Bags of Hope Ministries
Boston, MA
31. Hope Ranch For Women
Wichita, KS
32. Wings of Refuge
Iowa Falls, IA
33. North Star Initiative
Lititz, PA
34. Zoë Ministries
Greenwood, DE
35. Abolition Ohio
Dayton, OH
36. Arrow Child & Family Ministries
Baltimore, MD
37. Consumer Watchdog
Washington, DC
38. Airline Ambassadors International
Arlington, VA
39. Journey Out
Los Angeles, CA
40. The Ricky Martin Foundation
San Juan, PR
41. Praesidium Partners
Richmond, VA
42. Worthwhile Wear
Silverdale, PA
43. Amirah
Woburn, MA
44. Saved in America
Oceanside, CA
45. Awaken
Reno, NV
46. Ala Kuola
Honolulu, HI
47. Glory House of Miami
Miami, FL
48. Generate Hope
San Diego, CA
49. Refuge for Women Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
50. Girls Inc.
Washington, DC
51. New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Concord, NH
52. National Association of Counsel for Children
Aurora, CO
53. New Hope Youth Ministries
Russellville, AR
54. Living in Freedom Together Inc.
Worcester, MA
55. Her Song Jacksonville
Jacksonville, FL
56. Convo Church
Reno, NV
57. The Daughter Project
Perrysburg, OH
58. New Life Refuge Ministries
Corpus Christy, TX
59. LifeWire
Bellevue, WA
60. Hope Ranch for Women
Wichita, KS
61. The Lighthouse Community Center
Lynchburg, VA
62. Artworks for Freedom
Washington, DC
63. Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
Chicago, IL
64. Stolen Youth
Seattle, WA
65. Prevention Works Joint Task Force & Coalition
Conyers, GA
66. Engedi Refuge Ministries
Lynden, WA
67. True Justice International
New Bern, NC
68. Girls with Grit
Austin, TX
69. eWomenNetwork
Dallas, TX
70. ExposeSexEdNow
Charleston, SC
71. National Council of Jewish Women
Washington, DC
72. TraffickStop
Burleson, TX
73. Survivors for Solutions
Denver, CO
74. Family Watch International
Gilbert, AZ
75. American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Franklin, PA
76. Christian Action League of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
77. Restored Hope Ministries
Dallas, TX
78. In Our Backyard
Redmond, OR
79. Universal Peace Federation
Tarrytown, NY
80. International Athletes’ Abolition Mission
Havelock, NC
81. Being a Voice
Philadelphia, PA
82. iCare4, Inc.
Evans, GA
83. Delaware Family Policy Council
Dover, DE
84. Institute on Religion and Democracy
Washington, DC
85. New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking
Shorthills, NJ
86. S.H.A.D.E. Movement
Emeryville, CA
87. Florida Abolitionist
Orlando, FL
88. The Refuge for DMST
Austin, TX
89. Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking/Men Against Porn
Nashville, TN
90. Second Life Tennessee
Chattanooga, TN
91. Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Silver Spring, MD
92. Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS)
New York, NY
93. Graham Windam
Brooklyn, NY
94. National Council of Jewish Women—Essex County
Livingston, NJ
95. SeraphimGLOBAL
Arlington, VA
96. Protect Young Minds
Richland, WA
97. Refuge City
Richardson, TX
98. West Coast Children’s Clinic
Oakland, CA
99. National Crittenton Foundation
Portland, OR
100. National Decency Coalition
Mount Juliet, TN
101. Beloved Haven
Moyock, NC
102. Blue Ridge Fellows
Roanoke, VA

 

Individual Signatures:

J.S.
Child sex trafficking survivor
Chattanooga, TN
Tom and Nacole S.
Parents of a child sex trafficking survivor
Chattanooga, TN
Kubiiki Pride
Mother of a child sex trafficking survivor
Boston, MA
Ambassador Swanee Hunt
Marian Hatcher
Senior Project Manager/Human Trafficking Coordinator
Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Chicago, IL
Penny M. Venetis
Clinical Prof. of Law / Director, International Human Rights Clinic
Rutgers Law School
Newark, NJ
Michelle Madden Dempsey
Professor of Law
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Villanova, PA
Donna M. Hughes
Professor, Eleanor M and Oscar M Carlson Endowed Chair
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI
Jody Raphael
Senior Research Fellow
DePaul University College of Law
Chicago, IL
Audrey Rogers
Professor of Law
Elisabeth Haub School of Law
New York, NY
Katha Pollitt
Columnist, The Nation
New York, NY
Sarah Robinson
Public Defender
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
Dayle Ann Hunt
Playwright
The Trauma Brain Project
Chicago, IL
Kathleen Mitchell
Founder of the DIGNITY Diversion Program
Catholic Charities
Phoenix, AZ
Nicole O’Banion
Ombudsman for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking
Nevada Attorney General’s Office
Reno, NV
Dawn Jones
Survivor
The Lighthouse Community Center
Lynchburg, VA
Mary Dreisbach
Advocate
Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST)
Allentown, PA
Tammy Gilden
Senior Policy Associate
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
New York, NY
Angela Pena
Pediatric RN
Special Kids Care
San Antonio, TX
Darlene Pawlik
Survivor of child sex trafficking
Concord, NH
Barbara Amaya, CDA, PhD
Survivor
Arlington, VA
Nancy Mills, MS, LPC
Therapist
Bridgeton, NJ
Joseph Prud’homme
Associate Professor of Political Science
Washington College
Chestertown, MD
Jill Manning, PhD
Dr. Jill Manning, PLLC
Louisville, CO
Mary Graw Leary, JD
Professor
Catholic University, Columbus School of Law
Alexandria, VA
Autumn Burris
Survivor Leader
Denver, CO
Nikki Bell
Survivor Leader
Worcester, MA
Jen Spry
Survivor Leader
Philadelphia, PA
Kenneth Cooper
Pastor, West EFC
Wichita, KS
Derek Thompson
Regional Advocate
More Too Life
Sarasota, FL
Jahyda Iris Cortes-Villegas
Case Manager
Worthwhile Wear: The Well
Lisa Larson
Mother, Convent of the Sacred Heart
New York, NY

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

Further Reading