In Boardman, Portman Discusses New Bipartisan Bill to Help Stop Online Sex Trafficking, Visits Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Hospital

August 25, 2017 | Press Releases

Bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act Holds Accountable Websites that Traffic Women and Children Online

BOARDMAN, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the Northeast Ohio Coalition Against Human Trafficking, local law enforcement, and Mercy Health officials in Boardman to discuss their ongoing efforts to help end the practice of human trafficking. Recently, Senators Portman and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced bipartisan legislation — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that websites such as Backpage.com, which knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, can be held liable and brought to justice.

Reports of child sex trafficking to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children increased by more than 800 percent from 2010 to 2015. The reason? Sex trafficking has moved from the street corner to the smartphone. Sadly, the internet has paved the way for a new medium of sex trafficking,” said Senator Portman.But there is hope thanks to groups like the Northeast Ohio Coalition Against Human Trafficking, law enforcement, health officials, and countless others who are working tirelessly across the state to stop this heinous crime. We also have bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act that will hold accountable websites like Backpage that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking and help get victims the justice they deserve. Hearing these stories today made me more encouraged than ever about the need to address this issue and get this legislation signed into law. The selling of women and children online cannot be allowed to continue.

NOTE: Just this week, in an effort to raise awareness on human trafficking and his bill to stop it, Portman has convened a screening of the documentary I Am Jane Doe in Columbus, met with members and leaders of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking in Cleveland, met with survivors of human trafficking at the Oasis House in Dayton, and written op-eds in the Toledo Blade and TIME Magazine detailing his bipartisan legislation. He has also recently highlighted the legislation on national TV, on Ohio TV and radio, on the Senate floor, and in this video.

As founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, Senator Portman has a long record of fighting human trafficking. He has authored five federal anti-trafficking laws signed by President Obama, each designed to make a real difference in better serving victims and helping law enforcement to combat this horrific crime.

Following are photos of today’s event: