WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has signed a new law aimed at curbing sex trafficking.
During a White House signing ceremony Wednesday, the president said the survivors “are very brave.”
Yvonne Ambrose, a mother from the Chicago area, stood by Trump as he signed the law.
“I don’t want to cry in front of you, Mr. President,” she said. “This is so important to all of us, and I thank you, Mr. President, so much much for signing this bill into law.”
Ambrose says her daughter fell victim to the sex trafficking trade.
Just 16 years old, the body of Desire Robinson was found in a Markham garage on Christmas Eve 2016. She’d been sexually assaulted and brutally murdered.
Last week, Charles McFee, 26, admitted he delivered the teen to accused pimp Joseph Hazley, who prosecutors say trafficked the girl on the website Backpage.com. Hazley allegedly sold Robinson to her accused killer, Antonio Rosales.
“Unfortunately, my daughter was not the first person whom this has happened to. And thanks to you and everyone here, hopefully there won’t be many more after her,” Ambrose said.
After the White House event, Ambrose called today bittersweet.
“That was probably one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve probably ever had in my life,” she said. “ I was proud to be there with other survivors. … It’s mixed feelings. But I am happy that she is the change that she wanted to see in the world.”
Ambrose is suing Backpage, which has responded by filing a motion to dismiss. Rosales is awaiting trial and McFee’s has a detention hearing later this month.
Also among those at the ceremony were Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, several members of Congress and families of victims.
The law passed Congress overwhelmingly. It weakens a legal shield for online services that host abusive content, including sex trafficking.
The protections made users of such sites as Facebook liable for the content. The legislation grew out of frustration that classified-ad sites can claim they aren’t the publisher of questionable content but are merely transmitting posts by others.
Trump called the issue “a tough one,” and handed one signing pen to the mother of a victim of the sex trade.