This presentation was shared at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's national briefing in the U.S. Capitol building, entitled "The Freedom from Sexploitation Agenda." To learn more about the agenda, and to see more videos from the event, visit: endsexualexploitation.org/freedomagenda/
The Communications Decency Act (CDA) has unwittingly become a barrier to access to justice for the thousands of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation on websites like Backpage.com that enjoy protections under Section 230. Intended to promote growth of the internet 20 years ago, industry bad actors have capitalized on civil immunity and federal preemption of criminal prosecutions to engage in facilitating acts of sex trafficking. The technology industry has not stepped forward with self-governing solutions, and the courts have pointed the finger at Congress to fix the law. In the meantime, every day, child and adult sex trafficking victims are being raped repeatedly by users of websites advertising sex for sale.
Samantha is senior director and counsel for Shared Hope International, a nonprofit working to prevent sex trafficking and restore and bring justice to survivors. She directed the DEMAND. research for the U.S. Department of State and the domestic minor sex trafficking research for the U.S. Department of Justice, the findings of which have provided a foundation for specialized approaches to responding to sex trafficking of citizen juveniles in the U.S. and the demand that drives this market globally. Samantha designed the Protected Innocence Challenge, which establishes a framework of laws necessary to combat child sex trafficking in each state, issues annual report cards on existing frameworks, and directs advocacy efforts to institute and implement these laws. She provides direct assistance on legislation drafting, advocacy and monitoring at the state and federal levels and works to leverage the efforts of allied organizations and agencies to make the most impact. Previously, Samantha served as the director of the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative’s Moldova office rule of law program. She is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Miami School of Law.