WASHINGTON - Senator Maggie Hassan stressed the importance of supporting sex trafficking survivors and making it easier for them to seek justice during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing today on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 – legislation that Senator Hassan cosponsored. This bipartisan measure will help ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and that websites such as Backpage.com can be held liable and brought to justice.
In her opening remarks, Senator Hassan said “I’m cosponsoring this legislation because I really support the goals of this bill to ensure that justice for victims of sex trafficking is possible and to hold bad actors like Backpage accountable and liable.”
Senator Hassan highlighted the story of a New Hampshire girl named Emily who was advertised on Backpage.com for sex after running away from home, and was unable to seek justice against Backpage under current law after she was brought home.
Senator Hassan asked Yiota Souras, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to describe the impact on survivors when they are denied the ability to seek justice. Ms. Souras said that seeking justice is an “incredibly empowering, and self-revitalizing in many ways, aspect of their recovery.” Ms. Souras added, “the ability of victims to do that… is incredibly important and empowering.”
Senator Hassan also cosponsored the bipartisan Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, legislation that would help human trafficking victims by clearing any federal convictions for nonviolent crimes from criminal records. Then-Governor Hassan signed legislation establishing the crime of domestic violence in New Hampshire, and signed additional bipartisan legislation to strengthen protections for human trafficking survivors.