It’s Time to #ListenToSurvivors & Update CDA 230

The Honorable John Thune 
Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Bill Nelson
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20510

September 18, 2017

Dear Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and Members of the Committee,

We are an alliance of survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation from all across the country writing to express our strong support for S.1693, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA). This critical legislation would correct a legal loophole in the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that shields websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

A law originally drafted in 1996, the CDA simply cannot address the reality of violent crime on the internet today. Every day, thousands of women and children are marketed online where buyers purchase them with ease, anonymity, and impunity. As survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, we know the deep and profound harm caused by this crime. Many of us are survivor leaders of organizations working to provide safety and healing to others, including American children who were bought and sold online. For years, we have tried unsuccessfully to hold these websites accountable, but court after court has made it clear: Congress must correct the blanket immunity provided by CDA.

This legislation is vital. Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 represents an incredible bipartisan effort to seek justice for countless survivors who are sold on websites that shamelessly profit from our exploitation. As survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, we ask you to please prioritize the safety and rights of our nation’s most vulnerable women and children and pass SESTA to at long last, provide us a pathway to justice. As the father of a child sex trafficking survivor perfectly stated: “Children are not acceptable collateral damage. They are our hope, our future, America’s conscience.”

Sincerely,

  1. Trudee E. Able
    SEY and Youth Outreach Specialist
    Minneapolis, MN
  2. Nikolaos Al-Khadra
    Survivor Leader, National Survivor Network (NSN)
    Los Angeles, CA
  3. Kimmi Alona
    Rebecca Bender Initiative
    Denver, CO
  4. Jason Alva*
    Advocate
    San Diego, CA
  5. Barbara Amaya, PhD
    Author, Advocate, and Senior Technical Advisor, EPIC (Education Prevention and Intervention Center)
    Arlington, VA
  6. Brooke Axtell
    Founder/Director, She is Rising
    Austin, Texas
  7. Ann Marie Babb
    VP Business Operations, WCWT Center
    Middletown, OH
  8. Heidi Balogh
    Milwaukie, OR
  9. Trisha Baptie
    Community Engagement Coordinator, EVE
    Vancouver, BC
  10. Jewell Mikaela Baraka
    Kansas City, MO
  11. Cathy Bauer
    Phoenix, AZ
  12. Alyssa Beck
    Advocacy Specialist, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center
    Jacksonville, FL
  13. Nicole Bell
    Executive Director, Living In Freedom Together Inc.
    Worcester, MA
  14. Rebecca Bender
    CEO & Founder, Rebecca Bender Initiative
    Grants Pass, OR
  15. Alisa Bernard
    Survivor Advocacy Coordinator, The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS)
    Seattle, WA
  16. Wendy Berry
    Survivor/Advocate
    Fruitland, ID
  17. Ellen Blair
    Knoxville, TN
  18. Jennifer Brooks-Hardy
    Peer Support Coordinator, Healing Action
    St. Louis, MO
  19. Kathy Bryan
    Director of Elevate Academy, National Trainer, Author, Mentor, Rebecca Bender Initiative
    Heber Springs, AR
  20. Autumn Burris
    Founding Director, Survivors for Solutions
    Denver, CO
  21. Kathleen Campbell
    Puxico, MO
  22. Vednita Carter
    Founder, Breaking Free and Vednita Carter Ministries
    St. Paul, MN
  23. Christine Cesa
    Survivor Leader/Advocate
    Los Angeles, CA
  24. Maui Chacon
    Survivor Advocate
    Anaheim, CA
  25. Penny Christopoulos
    Norfolk, VA
  26. Angie Conn
    Survivor Leader
    Buffalo, WV
  27. Amber Copeland
    Morgantown, WV
  28. Laurin Crosson
    Founder/Director, Rockstarr.org
    Salt Lake City, UT
  29. Jeanine Daley
    Worcester, MA
  30. Ne’cole Daniels
    Founder, Survivors on the Move
    Olympia, WA
  31. Delores Day
    Executive Director, Restore Innocence Ranch
    Waukesha, WI
  32. Emily Dickson
    Empowerment Advocate, Family Assistance Program
    San Bernardino, CA
  33. Kelly Dore
    Executive Director, Colorado Human Trafficking Survivor Coalition
    Denver, CO
  34. Eva Eakins
    Hesperia, CA
  35. Jerome Elam
    President and CEO, Trafficking in America Task Force
    Gainesville, FL
  36. Amy Engle
    Marriage and Family Therapist, Phoenix Dream Center
    Phoenix, AZ
  37. Telisia Espinosa
    Be A Voice
    Tampa, FL
  38. Natasha Falle
    Co-founder / Director, Sex Trade 101
    Toronto, ON
  39. Hazel Fasthorse
    Case Manager /Advocate, Beloved Atlanta
    Atlanta, GA
  40. Kailee Favaro
    East Nassau, NY
  41. Danielle Trinity Foreman
    Attleboro, MA
  42. Allison Franklin
    Houston, TX
  43. Freitag
    LADC, Director of Action169
    Fairmont, MN
  44. Jessika Fuhrmaneck
    Writer/Speaker/Advocate, Treasures Ministry
    Nashville, TN
  45. Noel Gomez
    Advocate, The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS)
    Seattle, WA
  46. Danielle Goodwin
    Survivor Leader
    Seattle, WA
  47. Jessica Groghan
    Fort Collins, CO
  48. Jennifer H.
    Group Facilitator, Prevent Child Abuse NJ
    New Brunswick, NJ
  49. Athena Haddon
    Port Huron, MI
  50. Kathi Hardy
    Freedom From Exploitation
    San Diego, CA
  51. Denise Harris
    HSTSI Facilitator And Survivor Advocate, Convergence Resource Center
    Milwaukee WI
  52. Marian Hatcher
    Senior Project Manager/Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriffs Office
    Chicago, IL
  53. Keisha Head
    Lead Case Manager, Salvation Army
    Conyers, GA
  54. Hollerbach
    Monroe, WA
  55. Jolene Hollis
    Mentor, Trainer, Case Manager
    Long Beach, CA
  56. Margaret Howard
    LCSW
    Saint Louis, MO
  57. Corina Hernandez
    Hemet, CA
  58. Jeanet T. Ingalls
    Survivor Advocate, Shout Out Loud Productions, Inc.
    Lenox, MA
  59. Beth Jacobs
    Field Instructor, Truckers Against Trafficking
    St. Cloud, MN
  60. Cherie Jimenez
    Director, EVA Center
    Boston, MA
  61. Jeri Jimenez**
    Co-founder, Survivor 2 Survivor
    Portland, OR
  62. Ann Marie Jones
    Peer Mentor, Dawns Place
    Philadelphia, PA
  63. Judith
    Beverly Hills, CA
  64. Kristine
    Tacoma, WA
  65. Kathleen Kruger
    Mount Olive Lutheran Church
    Minneapolis, MN
  66. Jessica Lamb
    Founder and Director, Atlanta Redemption Ink, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA
  67. Judith Latner*
    Buckeye, AZ
  68. Maryann Lennon
    Survivor, Rebecca Bender Initiative
    Palm Bay, FL
  69. Marcela Loaiza
    Survivor and Writer, Marcela Loaiza Foundation
    Las Vegas, NV
  70. Jacquelynn Loos
    Peer Support Specialist, REST
    Seattle, WA
  71. Shawnee Love HHD, PhD**
    Doctor/Advocate/Survivor/Warrior/Movements Maker, Purple Hearts Missions Possible & Healthy Horizons; Native American Warriors Task Force
    The Americas
  72. Megan Lundstrom
    Executive Director, Free Our Girls
    Greeley, CO
  73. Marti MacGibbon
    Speaker, Author, Survivor Leader
    Sacramento, CA
  74. Jasmine Grace Marino
    Director, Bags of Hope
    Boston, MA
  75. Emily Martin
    Mission 21
    Rochester, MN
  76. Jennifer Martin
    Social Media and Events Coordinator, Rethreaded
    Jacksonville, FL
  77. Courtney Mattinson
    Marietta, GA
  78. McKinley
    Austin, TX
  79. Manon Michaud
    Activist
    Montréal, QC
  80. Robin Miller
    Vancouver, BC
  81. Kathleen Mitchell
    Founder, DIGNITY Programs
    Phoenix, AZ
  82. Jeri Moomaw
    Executive Director, Innovations HTC
    Olympia, WA
  83. Audrey Morrissey
    Associate Director, My Life My Choice
    Boston, MA
  84. Emmy Myers
    CEO & Founder, Lacey’s Hope Project
    Slinger, WI
  85. Darlene Pawlik
    Speaker, The Darling Princess
    Raymond, NH
  86. Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce
    President, Othayonih Research
    Saint Paul, MN
  87. John Price
    Reverend
    Kansas City, MO
  88. Sharon Robbins
    Jubilee Havens
    Ocean Springs, MS
  89. Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD
    Founder, There Is Hope For Me, Inc.
    Orlando, FL
  90. Rosseland
    Survivor Mentor, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center
    Jacksonville, FL
  91. Marjorie Saylor
    Founder/Executive Director, The Well Path
    Escondido, CA
  92. Andrea Shields
    Marceline, MO
  93. Carrie Smals
    Supervisor of a non-profit organization for survivors of human trafficking
    Jacksonville, FL
  94. Tina Smithee
    Caseworker, Catholic Charities
    Macon, GA
  95. Elle Snow
    Founder & Board President/Public Speaker, Game Over
    Eureka, CA
  96. Joli Sparkman
    RIA house
    Millis, MA
  97. Lorena Spencer
    Owosso, MI
  98. Jen Spry
    RN, Being A Voice LLC
    Douglassville, PA
  99. Cassandra Strom
    Public Relations Director, New Life Refuge Ministries
    Trophy Club, TX

100. Brittani Stugart
Los Angeles, CA

101. Carolyn Sunseri
McKinleyville, CA

102. Shelley Sylvester
Madison Heights, MI

103. Kristen Tebow
CEO, Founder, Youth Trust Project
Lawrence, KS

104. Melanie Thompson
Survivor Advocate
Queens, NY

105. Tori Thompson
Free Our Girls
Greeley, CO

106. Rosalyn Vasquez
Survivor Advocate
Seattle, WA

107. Jeanette Westbrook, MSSW
 Speaker and Advocate, SPACE International
 Louisville, KY

108. Pamela A. White
 Shared Hope International
 Washington, DC

109. Pamela Willisaa
 Survivor Leader/Expert
 Atlanta, GA

110. Shandra Woworuntu
 Director, Mentari
 New York, NY

111. Erin Wright
 Carson City, NV

112. Sarah Zalonis
 Consultant, Polaris Project
 Washington, DC

113. Tammy Bitanga
 Peer Support Specialist/Community Outreach manager, Ho’ola Na Pua
 Honolulu, HI

* Parent of a child sex trafficking survivor

** Survivor and parent of a child sex trafficking survivor