Legislative Advocacy

Child Abuse As Government Policy - A Response To The 2019 TIP Report

Click through to see the full report

Click through to see the full report

There is a lot to be applauded in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report launched on June 20 by the U.S. State Dept., but all of it is overshadowed by the abomination of the treatment of children currently taking place on the U.S.-Mexico border.  What an absurd policy clash: the TIP report rolled out the same week that the horrors on the border are exposed.  

To start, let’s review the good things in the report about U.S. government efforts to protect children from exploitation within the U.S.:

• It recognizes that U.S. children in the foster care system are vulnerable to traffickers and mentions a pilot program to identify children missing from foster care. Policy makers are beginning to understand and mitigate the conditions that make children vulnerable to trafficking, for example, living in an unstable family situation.  

• Appropriations for services for victims of human trafficking and child welfare systems have increased, which shows that there is an increased awareness that children need health care, education, and housing. 

• It is commendable that the report mentions the special needs of LGBTQ individuals - though there is a long way to go to set up systems that universally serve these youth.  

• 34 states have “safe harbor” laws that keep children from being arrested for the crime of prostitution. This is good but, keeping in mind that the movement to protect children from arrest for prostitution began in 2007 when the first of such a state law was passed, there appears to be a slowing of momentum in this movement. At this point in time, every state should provide a minimal level of protection to children who are sex trafficking victims.  

• Other good things: 1) there is increased funding for local human trafficking task forces  2) Backpage.com - which was highly targeted by traffickers - was taken down 3) The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was reauthorized and strengthened again

However, alongside all these advancements, we cannot forget that on the border, children, including toddlers, are being held in detention without their parents - unfed, unwashed, overcrowded, and uncared for.  The emerging reports from these facilities describe conditions that would cause child welfare workers to call the police, remove the children and have the responsible parties arrested.  

This in-progress criminal behavior by U.S. government representatives lays the foundation for making these children vulnerable to trafficking in the future. Traffickers seek to recruit vulnerable, isolated children; children who do not have a safe and secure family setting to protect them; children who have been abused; poor children. The very TIP report itself demonstrates that U.S. government policymakers recognize this.  And yet it is also U.S. policies that are forcing children to live in inhumane conditions that will have long-term harmful impact on the healthy development and well-being of thousands of children and make them targets for traffickers. These two things exist side by side: good child protection policies moving forward as described in the TIP report and a hideous portrait of child abuse carried out by the same government. 

In response, ECPAT-USA has one more “Prioritized Recommendation” to add to the TIP Report: Don’t carry out mass detention of children under abusive conditions.   


NEW FEDERAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAW POINTS TO PRINCIPLES OF ECPAT CODE OF CONDUCT AS MODEL FOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY

The new U.S. anti-trafficking law, passed in Congress on Dec. 17th, says when federal employees travel they should choose travel and hospitality companies that follow the six points of the ECPAT Code of Conduct, ECPAT-USA announced today. While H.R. 2200 the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 could not specifically identify ECPAT, the six criteria are clearly patterned after the Code of Conduct.

“ECPAT and its many travel and hospitality partners are grateful that the strong code we have developed to help company staff identify and stop trafficking has now been held up as a standard by the U.S. government,” said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “The new law provides a focus on prevention, which we consider the next frontier in our effort to bring an end to child sexual exploitation.”

In addition to the instructions to federal employees on travel, the new law:

  • Provides training and education efforts so that employees of the travel and hospitality industries can better recognize children and adults who may be trafficked.

  • Provides for reintegration programs for the victims of trafficking.

  • Creates a new grant program to help bring anti-trafficking educational outreach to America’s schools.  

This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort by the members of both houses of Congress and serves as a model for how successful that approach can be. ECPAT is also grateful to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), who championed this effort in the House, and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who crafted the companion bill in the Senate.

“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act Reauthorization has been a top legislative priority for anti-trafficking organizations throughout the country. This new law ensures that the United States will remain the global leader in this fight to end modern human slavery. We are very proud to have worked with the members of Congress to achieve this excellent result,” said Smolenski.

For more than twenty years, ECPAT-USA has fought for and won passage of strong anti-trafficking legislation. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act which was initially passed in 2000. It must be reauthorized every three years.

“We are so very pleased to see the evolution and improvement of those initial efforts in the passage of that latest version of the law,” Smolenski said.

ECPAT-USA is the oldest U.S. advocacy organization dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children. It is part of a global network of such organizations operating in over 90 countries worldwide.

22 US Business and Trade Associations join ECPAT-USA to Urge Congress to Pass Major Trafficking Bill

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, originally passed in the year 2000, is the United States' groundbreaking legislation to end human trafficking and provides much-needed assistance to human trafficking victims.

The proposed reauthorization, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, and complimentary Senate bills, emphasize a victim-focused approach to combating human trafficking, while also strengthening restitution to survivors. Critically, a number of new provisions concerning endangered children were also added to the legislation.

Virtually every law enforcement initiative, effort to assist victims or policy to combat child trafficking around the globe stems from this lynchpin of federal policy.

“The reauthorization of this law is vital for our national effort to end human trafficking at home and around the world. We are very proud of the partnerships we’ve built with the business community, and are very grateful to them for lending their voices in support of this bipartisan legislative initiative,” said Jason Matthews, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT-USA.

American industries continue to make notable progress in the fight against human trafficking by adopting corporate policies, instituting training, and providing own insights into the best practices to exploitation. Many companies have partnered with ECPAT-USA to develop policies and programs designed to prevent the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

“No single group can combat human trafficking on its own, which is why ECPAT-USA partners with both the private sector and governments to comprehensively address the issue,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement. “We proudly stand together with our corporate partners and urge Speaker Ryan to pass this bill.”

The 22 companies and associations that signed on to the letter are as follows:

Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)

American Airlines

Association of Corporate Travel Executive (ACTE)

Cadence Travel

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

CI Azumano

CorpTrav Management Group

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

HRS Global Hotel Solutions

IGLTA Foundation

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

Koncept Events

Lannan Legal PLLC

Maritz Travel Company

Milligan Events

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Real Hospitality Group

Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)

Uber Technologies Inc.

Vision Hospitality Group

For a copy of the letter, which was sent to Speaker Paul Ryan click here.

2018 TIP Report: Good News, Bad News, and A Critical Oversight

Photo: 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report

Photo: 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report

Like most things in Washington, the annual release of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report was a good news/bad news story. On the positive front, Acting Director Kari Johnstone of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, appears to be a straight shooter. In past years, the annual Trafficking in Persons report has been subject to accusations of political influence. Countries that are of obvious interest to US diplomatic efforts appeared to be rated a bit better than circumstances on the ground warranted. So there was a lot of trepidation concerning the 2018 report -- the first organized by the Trump administration. Advocates feared that countries like Russia, whose leadership has been praised by the President, might get a softer rating than deserved. This was not the case. Russia remained listed as one of the egregious jurisdictions for human trafficking, joining the likes of Burma and North Korea.  

Additional good news could be found in continental progress. Africa, which has been cited in previous reports for profound difficulties in both labor and sex trafficking, saw the greatest improvement.  More than a quarter of the nations that were reported to have improved status in the trafficking report were found in Africa. Ghana in particular was singled out, and a representative program in Ghana received a “trafficking heroes” award at the ceremony. This elevated status in the State Department’s TIP report correlates with increased efforts by ECPAT International to find African partners to join our network, an effort that has met with real success.

But we cannot let the TIP report pass by without acknowledging an important oversight. In addition to analyzing the anti-trafficking programs of nearly every nation in the world, the TIP report also has a section devoted to the efforts of our own government. The theme of this year’s report is “Effective ways that local communities can address human trafficking proactively and how national governments can support and empower them” or more pithily described at the report rollout as “local solutions to a global problem.”  

However, one vitally important approach to preventing child sex trafficking, and child sexual exploitation generally, is the education of children. Disturbingly, the US section of the TIP report fails to mention this approach at all. The State Department’s omission highlights two concerns for ECPAT USA. First, education policy and curricula in the United States is decentralized and localized. In short, it is exactly the kind of “local solution to a global problem” that the State Department sought to highlight. However, that decentralization and localization makes identifying best practices very difficult and time consuming. Individual school districts across the country are beginning to consider the problem of human trafficking and how to best inoculate their students to the danger. However, while a wide variety of curricula exist, there has been no effort to create a central repository where education policy makers might turn to evaluate the sort of approach that might work best for their school district.  

ECPAT-USA_Education.jpg

Secondly, the TIP report’s neglect of child education emphasizes that the U.S. Department of Education is woefully absent from the national effort to combat trafficking. The Departments of Justice and State have always been at the forefront of Federal anti-trafficking efforts, but other agencies have also stepped up, like the Department of Homeland Security, and more recently the Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, one of the most fundamental tools in the Federal toolbox goes unutilized because there is effectively no element of the Department of Education tasked with confronting human trafficking.  

At ECPAT-USA, we are making the education of children a central part of our work. Because studies show that children in their teens consult with their peers, we seek to arm middle school and high school students with the facts about child trafficking. The aim of this outreach is to assist children in protecting themselves, and aiding them in talking to their friends and peers. Currently, ECPAT has a successful educational outreach program with three distinct workshops  in New York City Schools. Additionally, we have the Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) program that empowers school children to take the lead in local anti-trafficking efforts. We have found that kids themselves make the most effective advocates in their communities, providing facts about risks and addressing the misconceptions around child sexual exploitation.

So we will continue our work with the U.S. State Department and the Federal Government to emphasize that education is the key to trafficking prevention. And beyond that advocacy mission, we will continue our work with local educators to help train as many kids as we can to avoid the risks of people seeking to exploit them.   

 

Banner image and gallery: 2018 TIP Report


Read the 2018 Trafficking in Persons report  here .

Read the 2018 Trafficking in Persons report here.

More Information

Read the U.S. State Department's 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Visit our Youth Education page to learn more about Y-ACT and ECPAT-USA's youth initiatives.

View our latest PSA, #AnyKidAnySchool, which spotlights the problem of child sex trafficking in the U.S.

 

Don’t Allow NAFTA to Undermine New Law Protecting Children from Sex Trafficking Online

Don’t Allow NAFTA to Undermine New Law Protecting Children from Sex Trafficking Online, 130 Advocates Tell U.S. Trade Rep

The new law that aims to combat child sex trafficking online could be undermined in the current NAFTA negotiations, according to a letter sent by 130 organizations and individuals to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The group, led by anti-child trafficking organization ECPAT-USA, voiced concern that the tech community is trying to make an end run around the recently passed SESTA-FOSTA law (H.R. 1865).

On May 8, President Trump signed H.R. 1865, which ended websites’ ability to rely on a legal loophole in the law referred to as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. The bill clarifies that websites may not rely on CDA 230 when they knowingly enable trafficking. In addition, the legislation adds a new tool for criminal prosecutors by expanding an existing federal prostitution statute to cover online sex trafficking.

Tech companies want the U.S. to include Section 230 without the FOSTA exception in the new NAFTA agreement. Such a provision may undermine the bipartisan legislative accomplishment in reforming blanket legal immunity for online platforms that aid child trafficking.

“We are putting our Trade Representative on notice not to bend to the tech lobbying community," said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. "SESTA-FOSTA passed with overwhelming support in both Houses of Congress. We are not going to turn a blind eye while the tech lobby undermines this new law via a trade deal.”

The letter was signed by 130 organizations and individuals from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Man Sentenced to 330 years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children Overseas

U.S. Man Sentenced to 330 years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children Overseas

A U.S. man has been sentenced to 330 years in prison for crimes related to his travels overseas to sexually exploit children. ECPAT-USA has a long history of holding child sexual abusers from the United States who commit crimes abroad accountable. One of ECPAT-USA’s first legislative successes was in 1994 when the organization partnered with Congress to pass extra-territoriality laws that ensure US citizens traveling abroad and sexually abusing children in their destinations are prosecuted in the United States.

Facts and Myths About SESTA

Carol Smolenski and Jason Matthews

 

The Bottom Line

The point that must be kept front and center in any discussion about SESTA (1) and its implications is that it is a debate about money—not freedom, not liberty, not the future of the internet or the safety of sex workers. A group of online websites were making money by knowingly aiding the sale of human beings, including children, on their sites. They were reluctant to stop this practice because it was highly profitable. SESTA changed the economic calculus for these companies, so many have shut down their adult personals sections, or gone out of business. Against this commercial priority, we believe there is another paramount one—the rights of vulnerable and exploited children, and the need to protect them.     

But unsurprisingly, entities with bottom lines at risk have been very vocal about spreading disinformation about what SESTA is and is not. We hope you will find this Facts & Myths document helpful in setting the record straight.

 

MYTH: SESTA is an attack on my First Amendment rights to free expression, and is a form of internet censorship.

FACT: SESTA does not implicate anyone’s free speech rights. SESTA concerns a victim’s right to bring a civil claim for damages against an online business. This is exactly the same sort of liability that every business in America faces. If a business harms someone, or even if they are injured accidentally on a business’ premises, an individual can bring a claim for damages against that business (2). For many years, internet companies have used an obscure provision of law to avoid civil liability for damages caused by or occurring on their websites. SESTA does not change the law for all those cases, but it does allow victims of human trafficking to seek civil damages against websites that allowed human trafficking (3).  

 

MYTH: The government ordered online personal ads to shut down.

FACT: Online personal ads remain entirely legal. SESTA takes no position on them at all. The bill expands a Federal criminal law concerning prostitution, and applies it to prostitution online (4).  However, websites have never been legally immune from criminal activity, only from the civil lawsuits brought by individual citizens. For trafficking victims at least, SESTA allows them the same rights of civil action against online businesses as citizens enjoy against brick and mortar businesses across the country.  Furthermore, trafficking children is not a form of free speech, neither is child pornography more generally. Criminal behavior is not, and never has been protected by the First Amendment (5).    

 

MYTH: Websites will now avoid moderating their sites for trafficking and other crimes.

FACT: As we have learned through the recent Congressional hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, websites are monitoring our online behavior in great and particular detail. They do so because they are able to monetize the information they collect about us, and sell it to online advertisers. For many websites, including the largest internet giants, this is central to the model for how they make money (6). In all likelihood, websites will not alter their business model in any substantial way as a result of this law. And monitoring user behavior and then turning a blind eye to human trafficking is exactly what was occurring every day prior to SESTA’s passage.  

 

MYTH: SESTA will stifle innovation on the internet.

FACT: The internet is a global phenomenon with innovation occurring every day in every corner of the globe.  And yet, only the United States shields internet platforms from civil liability—not the UK, not Canada, not Japan, Korea, or a host of other countries around the world (7).  However, the internet continues to thrive there and elsewhere. Furthermore, blanket civil liability protection is not granted to any other sector of the U.S. economy, but that has in no way stifled innovation in other sectors. Commercial innovation tends to be driven by competition and customer expectations rather than the legal climate (8).  In any case, websites that facilitate the sale and rape of children are not an innovation that should be protected.      

 

MYTH: The Department of Justice’s closure of Backpage.com means we do not need SESTA.

FACT: Backpage.com did not start in the adult personal ad business.  When Craigslist closed its “adult services” section, which had been under legal scrutiny for its role in human trafficking, Backpage.com picked up where Craigslist left off.  And suddenly, Backpage.com which had once been a sleepy online element of the Village Voice in New York, became the second largest online classified website in the world, with the vast majority of its revenue coming from the adult classified  section (9).  Therefore, it is rational to conclude that the closure of one website, without a change in law, would just lead to a new “backpage.com” just as the closure of the Craigslist adult section, spurred Backpage.com to get into the child trafficking business in the first place.

 

MYTH: SESTA is negatively affecting sex workers and making their work more difficult

FACT: This idea is based on the premise that there is a vast body of young women and men looking to become sex workers and that SESTA interferes with their chosen method of making a living (10).  While acknowledging that there is a very small segment of society that enters sex work with their eyes wide open, and in the absence of coercion, we have several real world examples that demonstrate otherwise. One state—Nevada—has  legalized prostitution and regulated brothels. If there are legions of young women and men looking to earn a living from sex work, human trafficking should be rare in Nevada, because people can earn a living in sex work in a regulated and legal environment there (11).  Just the opposite is true. In spite of the fact that Nevada has eight counties with legalized brothels,  human trafficking remains a huge problem for the state. Las Vegas is the 6th highest ranked city in the nation in terms of calls to the National Trafficking Hotline, it ranks 5th on a per capita basis (12). In fact, Nevada is amongst the worst states in the nation for human trafficking, and in spite of media portrayals, Nevada law enforcement reports that most of the girls they arrest are from local communities (13). Of course, it is not just Nevada. Amsterdam, known worldwide for its red light district and legalized prostitution, has also become a hotbed for human trafficking. Tragically, here too, local Dutch children are often the victims (14). The reason is simple.  Whatever percentage of the prostitution trade is composed of voluntary sex workers, it is far outmatched by demand. And one way the gap is filled is through the exploitation of vulnerable children.

 

MYTH: This is a victimless crime. Why is the government involved in regulating a financial transaction?

FACT: While studies are insufficient, most experts put the average age of a person entering prostitution between 12 and 15 (15). There is no real dispute that thousands of children are forcibly sexually exploited as prostitutes (16).  The world now recognizes that  minor children are not developmentally prepared to consent to sex work (17).  Advocacy groups often refer to a positive picture of  college students working their way through school, suggesting that prostitution in the United States is largely a voluntary activity (18). This illusion ignores the sexual exploitation of children.  Any review of research about the lives of sex workers reveals that for the vast majority of them, the “choice” one makes to sell sex occurs in a context of having no other options for survival (19).

 

MYTH: Some children, especially LGBTQ youth, leave abusive homes or are thrown out and therefore they need to sell sex to survive.  

FACT: It is undoubtedly true that economic hardship makes kids vulnerable to grooming techniques by pimps and traffickers (20). But it is beyond reprehensible that the wealthiest society in the world has responded to the economic insecurity of vulnerable children with a collective shrug. It is functionally saying that if a child is poor, it’s fine if they wind up in prostitution. And contrary to the Hollywood fiction of films like Pretty Woman, there is no Cinderella ending for these kids. There are well-documented, long term consequences for the victims’ mental and physical health, their possibility of completing their education, their reunification with their families and their long-term economic well being (21). Thus, to surrender children to this lifestyle is to abandon them to lifelong poverty and trauma.

 

MYTH: Sex workers need online sites to help screen dangerous johns.

FACT: Prostitution remains incredibly dangerous in this country and around the world.  Comprehensive studies indicate that the mortality rate for a female prostitute is 51 times higher than the next most dangerous occupation -- working in a liquor store (22).  The reasons for this extraordinarily high mortality rate are homicide and drug overdoses (23). While some prostitute and escort services might keep lists of buyers who they refuse to serve, this does very little to diminish the danger overall.  Anonymity is the hallmark of prostitution. People in the industry rarely know the john’s real or full name, and vice versa. An online blacklist may deflect a john from a particular sex site, but that only makes it more likely that he will find a trafficking victim who has no choice in whom they service.  These vetting lists offer at best a false sense of security, and at worst, an excuse to allow for the sexual exploitation of children online.

 

For more information about SESTA and how to combat child trafficking see:

www.ecpatusa.org


End Notes

  1. The legislation that was taken up and passed with actually H.R. 1865, called the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act or FOSTA. H.R. 1865, was amended and merged with the original Senate bill, SESTA. As most commentators refer to the bill as SESTA we follow that convention here.  
  2. Andrew Suszek, When Can A Business Be Sued For Personal Injury — ALLLAW.COM http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/business-be-sued%20.html.

  3. Pub. L. 115-164 Sec. 4a et. seq.

  4. Pub. L. 115-164 Sec. 3a

  5. See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969)

  6. Hope King, Facebook is Making More Money Off You Than Ever — CNN.COM http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/27/technology/facebook-earnings/index.html.

  7. Markham C. Erickson & Sarah K. Leggin, Exporting Internet Law through International Trade Agreements: Recalibrating US Trade Policy in the Digital Age, 24 Cath. Univ. J. of Law & Tech. 345 et. seq.

  8. Dr. Sridhar Balasubramanian, Insights Into Innovation: Why Companies Must Innovate, UNC Kenan-Flagler News, March 22nd, 2013.

  9. Emma Brazilian, Village Voice Media Sheds Prostitution Hub Backpage.com — Adweek, September 24, 2012.

  10. For a prime example of this type of thinking, see Chris Hall, Is One of the Most-Cited Statistics About Sex Work Wrong?, The Atlantic, September 5th, 2014.

  11. Barbara Brents & Kathryn Hausbeck, State-Sanctioned Sex: Negotiating Formal and Informal Regulatory Practices in Nevada Brothels, 44 Soc. Persp. 307, 324 (2001).

  12. Polaris, Ranking of the 100 Most Populous US Cities 2007-2016, http://ag.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agnvgov/Content/Hot_Topics/Victims/100_Most_Populous_Cities_Report.pdf.

  13. Nevada Among Worst States for Human Trafficking, Public News Service, January 4th 2016.

  14. Anthony Deutsch, At least 1,300 Dutch Girls per year Trafficked, Exploited — Reuters, October 18th, 2017.

  15. Ric Curtis &  Karen Terry, The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City, Vol I, John Jay College, Center for Court Innovation, September 2008

  16. Ibid.

  17. UN Convention Against Transnational Crime, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, Article 3(a) et seq. 2004.

  18. Andrea Di Nicola & Andrea Cauduro (ed.), Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients, Springer 2009.

  19. Elise White, et al, Navigating Force and Choice: Experiences in the New York City Sex Trade and the Criminal Justice System’s Response. Center for Court Innovation, February 2018.

  20. Holly Yzquierdo, Signs Your Teen is Being Groomed by Sex Traffickers — Catholic Charities and Community Services, December 30th 2015.

  21. Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski, The Economic Drivers and Consequences of Sex Trafficking in the United States, IWPR #B369 September 27, 2017.

  22. John J. Potterat  & Devon D. Brewer, Mortality in a Long-term Open Cohort of Prostitute Women, 159 Am. Journal of Epidemiology 8, April 15th, 2004.

  23. Ibid.

Federal Authorities Take down Backpage.Com, Accused of Being a Haven for Online Prostitution

Federal Authorities Take down Backpage.Com, Accused of Being a Haven for Online Prostitution

the Justice Department on Friday seized the Backpage.com website and raided the home of its cofounder.

The site, long a haven for sex ads, began shutting down Friday morning, as FBI agents began taking down a network of web pages all over the world . A notice on the site said it had been seized as part of an enforcement action by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

ECPAT-USA Responds to DOJ's Seizure of Backpage

Today ECPAT-USA issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Justice's shut down of online marketplace Backpage.com. The seizure of Backpage.com and it's affiliated websites comes just two weeks after the passage of FOSTA-SESTA. Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA, said:

"One of ECPAT-USA's main goals in supporting FOSTA-SESTA was to shut down Backpage because it's the primary online marketplace for buying and selling of children's bodies. Kids who are abused in the commercial sex trade are affected by the trauma they endure for the rest of their lives. It is long overdue for this website to be shut."