I am Jane Doe

Lavinia Huang

On Monday May 7, Whitney Young hosted a screening of the documentary, I am Jane Doe, and held a Panel Discussion. I am Jane Doe is a  documentary that follows the stories of several sex trafficking victims and their legal fight against the website backpage.com for facilitating the selling and purchasing of minors against their will. Antonio Romanucci, Principle and Partner of Romanucci and Blandin, LLC, and Attorney for Yvonne Ambrose (Mother of an online sex-trafficking victim) gave a powerful opening remarks about the horrible world of sex trafficking and what happened to his client, Desiree Robinson.

The documentary itself was very moving and emotional to watch. Despite being a crime that is very prevalent in the United States, there was a lot of information that is unknown to the public. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected websites like backpage.com from being held responsible for the things that are posted on their website. To this day backpage.com has been taken down and the CEO, Carl Ferrer, has been locked way, but not after a long and treacherous legal battle. About 80 students, parents, and teachers attended the screening and panel.

“I am glad that I went to this because I really didn’t know anything about sex trafficking but this documentary just made me really aware and sympathetic to the cause,” said Esme McCarthy ‘20.

The moderator of the discussion panel was Laura Ng, the executive director of Traffick Free, a faith-motivated organization that provides the greater metropolitan area of Chicago with tools and sustainable programs to combat human trafficking and transform the lives of victims and communities. The panel consisted of Gina DeBoni (attorney for Yvonne Ambrose), Maian Hatcher (Senior Project Manager, Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriff’s Office), Commander William Leen (Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department), Kaethe Morris-Hoffer (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation), Anne Ream (Voices and Faces and World Without Exploitation), and Noelle Viard (Selah Freedom).

“The panel added a lot of needed discussion and different points of view from people of different support organizations and backgrounds,” said Avanti Brown ‘18.

To learn more about Sex Trafficking or to watch I am Jane Doe, visit www.iamjanedoefilm.com.

Anne Boyle
The discussion panel took place after the documentary screening.