March 21, 2018

Duckworth Votes to Help End Online Sex Trafficking

Senator supports legislation that could have helped protect slain Chicago sex trafficking victim Desiree Robinson


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today voted in favor of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, or SESTA, which clarifies and strengthens criminal and civil remedies for victims of sex trafficking. Last year, Duckworth met with the mother of slain Chicago child sex trafficking victim Desiree Robinson to discuss the legislation, which passed today on a bipartisan vote of 97-2 and fixes a portion of federal law that makes it harder for Robinson’s mother, Ms. Yvonne Ambrose, to hold accountable those involved in her daughter’s murder. Duckworth also spoke at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing about the need for Congress to do more to help prevent online sex trafficking, protect victims and provide law enforcement as well as prosecutors with additional tools needed to more effectively prosecute offenders.

“Sex trafficking victims and family members like Ms. Ambrose should not be faced with legal inconsistencies that undermine the pursuit of justice for their trauma. Any person or entity that facilitates these horrific circumstances should be held accountable,” Duckworth said. “We must do everything we can to support victims and law enforcement as we work to end online sex trafficking, and this legislation help make that a reality.”

Every year, thousands of sex trafficking cases are reported across the United States while many more cases go unreported. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 193 of those cases were in Illinois last year. SESTA, which Duckworth is cosponsoring, would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the federal sex trafficking statute to hold websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking accountable at both the Federal and State level. A photo of Ambrose meeting with Senator Duckworth before that hearing is available here and video of Ms. Ambrose's testimony at the Commerce hearing is available here.