Standing beside President Donald Trump Wednesday as he signed into law an anti-online sex trafficking bill that she’d tearfully testified in support of last fall, Yvonne Ambrose experienced a mix of emotions.
“It was bittersweet,” said Ambrose, whose 16-year-old daughter Desiree Robinson was found slain in a Markham garage in December 2016 after being sold for sex online.
Going to the White House and being a part of this bill becoming law has been a great experience,” the Chicago woman said in an interview with the Daily Southtown. “And it was also sad that Desiree was not there to celebrate this moment with us.”
The bill, known as the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” or FOSTA, clarifies the protections of the Communications Decency Act and amends the federal criminal codes on interstate prostitution and sex trafficking of children. The legislation stemmed from concerns that classified-ad sites like Backpage.com could claim they were not the publisher of questionable content but were merely displaying posts by others.
“From a legal perspective, this law is a very important clarification to Section 230 of the (Communications Decency Act), making it very clear that victims and survivors (of sex trafficking) can maintain a cause of action against websites like Backpage.com,” said Gina DeBoni, an attorney for Robinson’s family. “They can no longer hide like they once had tried to do.”
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