September 26, 2018

Sex Trafficking Survivor Melanie Thompson Explains Importance of FOSTA-SESTA

Melanie Thompson is a sex trafficking survivor and anti-sex trafficking advocate who, in a recently released video, describes her experiences first-hand. Having been sexually exploited in everything from street prostitution, underground strip clubs, and auctioned off on online prostitution platforms such as Backpage.com, Melanie explains the extreme danger and violence presented by all forms of prostitution.

Today, Melanie fights to spread awareness on why her efforts to help pass laws to protect victims of sex trafficking are so important, despite opposition she has received. With Melanie’s help, a major law known as FOSTA-SESTA was recently passed by the U.S. Congress. This law allows victims to bring civil cases and states to bring criminal charges against websites that promote prostitution and knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. This law is critical for helping to combat the explosion of sex trafficking that occurred online following the development of websites with business models built sexual exploitation. As the FBI has reported, in 84.3% of its sex trafficking cases sex traffickers use the Internet to advertise their victims to people seeking to buy them for their personal sexual use.

Melanie explains that although the passing of this law is a victory, it is important to stay vigilant as sex exploiters can be highly innovative and find other means to exploit people’s bodies. She would like to expand her work to influence policies that criminalize those who facilitate or perpetuate prostitution and decriminalize those sold in prostitution in hopes they can be offered resources and services to help them get out of the exploitive world of prostitution.  

For more information on FOSTA-SESTA and combating online sex trafficking, please visit our website at https://endsexualexploitation.org/cda/.

Anna Layton

Intern

Anna Layton is a graduate student earning a dual-degree in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, respectively, with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. Anna is also earning her master’s Certificate in Global Health, whereupon she hopes to work with vulnerable populations in low-resource areas both domestically and internationally. Anna is passionate about promoting health and well-being through policy development and direct service work, and believes all people should be treated equally with dignity and respect. Her endeavor is to engender meaningful change in the lives of underserved populations through health and educational interventions and would like to one day work in underdeveloped settings alongside her husband of 4 years who is finishing his bio-systems engineering degree.

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