Legal Momentum News Brief—Week of March 26, 2018

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March 2018

Legal Momentum Advocates for Historic Anti-Trafficking Legislation

On Wednesday, March 21, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 97-2, to pass FOSTA-SESTA, the anti-trafficking bill that modifies Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). Legal Momentum was actively involved in advocating for this historic legislation that will enable survivors to take legal action against websites that knowingly facilitate commercial sex trafficking.

Legal Momentum has been raising awareness on the issue of online human trafficking and advocating strenuously for legislation to reform the CDA for three years. Section 230 has been wrongly interpreted by the courts as protecting websites against lawsuits brought by trafficking victims. Legal Momentum worked to build a coalition of anti-trafficking groups, survivors, and activists to pass new, strong anti-trafficking laws. Legal Momentum is deeply grateful to all the partners and supporters who shepherded FOSTA-SESTA, as the legislation is known, through a lengthy and sometimes difficult process to get it passed in the face of strong opposition from many in the tech industry.

13th Annual Women of Achievement Awards Dinner Breaks with Tradition

On March 21 in San Francisco, Legal Momentum was proud to honor six outstanding women at its annual Women of Achievement Awards Dinner. (Read on for a list of the awardees.) The excitement of the evening didn’t stop there. For the first time, the Dinner featured a special program of dramatic readings that highlighted the issues of sex trafficking and sexual abuse.

Volunteer actors from the Sir Francis Drake High School (San Anselmo, CA) began the evening by performing dramatic readings of excerpts from the poem"Human Trafficking" that is featured on the Roses in the Rubble blog. After dinner, student actors from the U.C. Hastings College of Law performed selected readings about sexual harassment and abuse, written by well-known people such as Laverne Cox, Melody Hill, Jordyn Wieber, and Uma Thurman.

Here are the 2018 Women of Achievement Honorees:

  • Esha Bandyopadhyay, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

  • Ashlie Beringer, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel (Regulatory, Product, Privacy), Facebook

  • Natasha Innocenti, Partner, MLegal Group

  • The Honorable Michelle K. Lee, Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Distinguished Public Service Awardee

  • Michelle Leetham, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Rodan + Fields

  • Sonja Perkins, Managing Director, The Perkins Fund

Legal Momentum Discusses Sexual Harassment and the #MeToo Movement

Legal Momentum’s#MeToo for the most vulnerable women, and why the Me Too movement has not “gone too far.” Ms. Khawaja pointed out that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface based on the fact that few women actually report—and many women still are not believed when they report. She discussed concrete legislative proposals to better address sexual harassment, ways for employers to improve their policies, and the need to revise legal standards that currently pose substantial barriers to accountability. At Legal Momentum, Ms. Khawaja focuses on developing strategies to advance gender equality in the workplace and enhance economic security for low-income women. The other panelist was Amy Barasch of Her Justice, and the moderator was Marxe Associate Professor Hillary Botein.

Legal Momentum Co-Sponsors Enough Is Enough Summit and Congressional Briefing

Legal Momentum, in partnership with the national NOW organization and other allies, is co-sponsoring the Enough is Enough Summit and Congressional Briefing on April 25 in Washington, D.C. The Summit will bring together organizations and activists to develop survivor-centric solutions on the ground, in the courts, and in Congress and across the nation. 

Through panel discussions with activists, survivors, advocates, and lawmakers, the Summit will shine light on what the issue of sexual harassment looks like for different communities and industries. Most importantly, it will provide a venue for crafting informed solutions that address specific barriers for women often ignored in the conversation. The Enough is Enough Summit and Congressional Briefing will be held on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EDT at the Congressional Visitor Center, Auditorium and Atrium, First St. NE, Washington, D.C. To join Legal Momentum, NOW, and our allies for the Enough is Enough Summit, RSVP here. For more information about the Enough is Enough campaign and about the Summit, go to