Ohio Anti-Trafficking Advocates, Elected Officials Praise Senator Portman’s Work to Pass the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act

March 22, 2018 | Press Releases

Bipartisan SESTA Now Ready for the President’s Signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, by a vote of 97-2.  This measure – which will help ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking – is supported by trafficking survivors, anti-human trafficking advocates and law enforcement50 Attorneys General, the civil rights communityfaith-based groups, the larger tech community, and courts and judges who made clear that it was Congress’ responsibility to act to protect sex trafficking victims. Here’s what some of Ohio’s anti-trafficking advocates and elected officials are saying about his work on this bipartisan legislation:

Senator Portman’s bill will help give victims the justice they rightfully deserve. By closing this loophole and holding criminals accountable we are working to fight human trafficking, save lives, and offer victims hope.” — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

“It’s hard to imagine that young kids in 2018 can get enslaved in human trafficking, but it’s happening every day – including right here in Ohio. The passage of Senator Portman’s Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act is an important step in combatting this industry by allowing websites that knowingly facilitate trafficking to finally be brought to justice. We applaud Senator Rob Portman for his leadership on this bill and for standing up to this awful industry in an effort to help some of the most vulnerable and exploited members of our society.” — Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values

“There is no room in this country for the crime of sex trafficking of children and adults. Amendment to the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity for those who knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, is required to stop this horrific crime from taking place on the internet. Closure of this immunity shelter is long overdue— it is a basic human rights issue. We applaud the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a bipartisan effort led by Senators Portman and McCaskill.”— Winnifred P. Boylan, Executive Vice-President/Programming, Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, Cleveland OH

“I applaud Senator Portman’s efforts to continue to fight on behalf of sex trafficking victims. SESTA is a milestone for protecting these victims by reforming the CDA that will ultimately hold websites that knowingly facilitate this horrendous crime accountable.”— Ohio State Representative Theresa Gavarone

“I’m thrilled that the U.S. Senate passed SESTA. The bill provides commonsense protections for our most vulnerable and is a moral, and effective response to an unjust perversion of the original intent of the Communications Decency Act. An overwhelming majority of child and adult sex trafficking victims are advertised online and researchers, survivors, law enforcement officers, and advocates all recognize that Backpage.com is America's largest commercial sex marketplace and site for the facilitation of sex trafficking. SESTA will allow trafficking victims to seek justice long denied to them. It will ensure that facilitators of pimps and criminals no longer hide behind the important First Amendment protections intended by the law.” — Anthony N. Talbott, Co-founder & Chairman, Abolition Ohio

“What a great victory for human trafficking victims. I applaud Senator Portman and his colleagues’ hard work to see that justice is ensured for victims of sex trafficking and to ensure that websites like backpage.com are held liable. The Collaborative celebrates this milestone and will continue to advocate to see that justice is served.” Ann Marie O'Brien, Co-Chair Education/Outreach Committee, Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking

“End Slavery Now believes that we all have a role in ending slavery and the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) is key to this movement. This bipartisan legislation will provide support and protect women and children who have been or are vulnerable to being trafficked online; creating a safer internet by holding companies accountable for facilitating the sale of human beings. We applaud and support Senator Portman’s continued dedication to eradicating modern day slavery.”Lara Green, End Slavery Now, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

“Senator Portman's continued commitment to end the suffering of victims of human trafficking is clearly evidenced in the crafting of Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. This unprecedented bill will provide justice for and restore dignity to survivors of human trafficking. Once again, the Northeast Ohio Coalition Against Human Trafficking is proud to support Senator Portman in this extraordinary legislative action.”— Susan Laird, President, Northeast Ohio Coalition Against Human Trafficking

“On behalf of over 200 survivors of human trafficking we support each year, Freedom a la Cart applauds Senator Portman's leadership in the passing  of the SESTA bill. We are grateful for this important act that will remove power from online perpetrators and return it to victims. Now those that have been trafficked online can finally seek justice for the crimes against them. This is an important step for survivors on the road to recovery and restoration.” Paula Haines, Executive Director, Freedom a la Cart

“I’m thrilled to see this legislation head to the President’s desk for his signature. SESTA is crucial in our fight against this horrific crime. As a survivor of sex trafficking,  I have dedicated my life to building awareness of domestic sex trafficking and sexually exploited children, and I’m pleased to see Senator Portman along with many other Senators come together to pass this legislation that will ultimately hold perpetrators liable by cracking down on online sex trafficking sites.” — Theresa Flores, Human Trafficking Survivor and Founder, TraffickFree: Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (S.O.A.P.)

“Every person has a role to play in combating human trafficking. I’m pleased that the U.S. Senate has passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) that is aimed at stopping online sex human trafficking. I believe that this act will help victims get the justice that they rightfully deserve by holding website operators civilly and criminally liable for giving human traffickers a forum to conduct these heinous crimes. I’m proud of Senator Portman’s tireless work to continue to fight on behalf of trafficking victims to see that websites like backpage.com are held accountable for their horrendous action. He has long been an active advocate for those caught in the atrocities of human trafficking.  Joined by with many other Senators, Senator Portman has provided the uncompromising leadership to bring this act to fruition to ultimately hold perpetrators liable by cracking down on online sex trafficking sites.  Through SESTA, we have a new tool to help end the terrible scourge of human trafficking in our society.”Pastor Chuck Campbell, Board Member of Lutheran Ministries of Mercy

“The Dominican Sisters of Peace are committed to non-violence, and to solidarity with those who are marginalized. The women and children who are victimized by organizations like Backpage.com, and others that facilitate online trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, deserve our protection. As an advocate for these women and as a Dominican Sister of Peace, I believe that the SESTA bill is an important step in the effort to stop human trafficking. All individuals and organizations who facilitate violence and abuse should be held accountable for their actions.”Sister Nadine Buchanan, OP, Dominican Sisters of Peace

“Victims of trafficking come from any community and any walk of life, and all deserve the opportunity for healing and justice. This legislation will provide law enforcement with additional tools they need to hold those who support exploitation accountable. We applaud Senator Portman’s leadership on this legislation and his ongoing commitment to preventing sex trafficking and supporting survivors in our community and across the country.”Sondra Miller, President & CEO, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

“Daybreak applauds Senator Portman and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle for the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.  Daybreak has been providing safe refuge and support for homeless children and youth for over 40 years and we know that these young people are particularly vulnerable to victimization and are often targeted by traffickers who use social media sites like Backpage.com.  Sincerest thanks to all of you for your tireless efforts to protect our children from these despicable predators.” — Linda Kramer, CEO, Daybreak