Tag Archive: human trafficking

We get letters: And if you call yourself a journalist?

We get letters: And if you call yourself a journalist?

Again I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been trying to juggle my schedule to prioritize everything just right and it hasn’t been easy, but I digress…

I received the following email from Terri or Tammy. I received basically the same email five times. After doing a little website traffic research I discovered that this was in response to my last post about the Backpage situation.

You need to check your facts they are completely off and copied from other sites who also didn’t do their research. I hope you don’t call yourself an investigative or even credible journalist because obviously you are not. You don’t even allow anyone to comment to your page which is ok because I doubt not may people read it since it is just your opinion and not real news. Do your own research instead of copying others. And if you call yourself a journalist? What a joke and name calling? Disgusting and trashy at it’s finest.

*sigh* People still keep throwing the ‘j’ word at me. A website does not a journalist make, not to mention I’ve never claimed to be a journalist. What I am is a citizen who wants to bring attention to the fact that Backpage is not only enabling the widespread problems of sexual slavery, human trafficking and child prostitution, but that they’re profiting from them as well. One does not have to be journalist to try to bring attention to an injustice that Backpage personifies.

Liz McDougall breaks her silence, Mike Lacey bribes?, and Carl Ferrer is held without bond: The latest on Backpage

Liz McDougall breaks her silence, Mike Lacey bribes?, and Carl Ferrer is held without bond: The latest on Backpage

Backpage Attorney Liz McDougall

Backpage attorney Liz Mcougall has finally commented on the arrest of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer on pimping charges.

This past week she had the following to say

The attorney for Backpage.com is blasting the raid on the online classified ad portal’s Dallas headquarters and the arrest of chief executive Carl Ferrer as “an election year stunt” on the part of the California attorney general and “not a good-faith action by law enforcement.”

In a statement issued Friday, Backpage general counsel Liz McDougall said “the actions of the California and Texas attorneys general are flatly illegal” and “ignore the holdings of numerous federal courts that the First Amendment protects the ads on Backpage.com.”

McDougall says Backpage will, in her words, “take all steps necessary to end this frivolous prosecution and will pursue its full remedies under federal law against the state actors who chose to ignore the law, as it has done successfully in other cases.”

Do you think that she believes her own clamoring yet? She talks about good faith legal actions on the part of law enforcement while Backpage collects millions of dollars from people who are being sold into sexual slavery. If anything is flatly illegal, it’s collecting profit from the proceeds of obviously illegal activity where human lives are traded. Not to mention if anyone is not only ignoring the law, let alone common decency, it’s been Backpage.

On another note, Backpage shareholder Mike Lacey sent certain former employees of Village Voice Media unsolicited $5000 checks. If you’ll recall Lacey and Jim Larkin used to run Village Voice Media. Backpage used to be under the umbrella of VVM before they broke off in 2012. D Magazine columnist Tim Rogers suspects it may be so certain Village Voice Media employees would be conflicted in writing about Backpage’s legal issues. That sounds a lot like bribing journalists, doesn’t it? Hearst would be proud.

Speaking of Ferrer himself, it was originally reported that he was being held in Texas on a $500K bond, but now ABC is reporting that he’s been transferred to a California jail where he is being held without bond. As I’ve commented before he should be held without bond since he is an obvious flight risk. I mean the man did blow off a Congressional subpoena to ‘attend business’ in Amsterdam, where he runs many sites similar to Backpage but even more blatant. CBS confirms that he is being held without bail.

As of the time I’m typing this Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey have still not been apprehended.

UPDATE 10/10/2016: Lacey and Larkin are now both in custody in California after they turned themselves in.

Supreme Court rejects Backpage appeal to keep sex trafficking records private

Backpage granted temporary stay from Supreme Court

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena that had requested Backpage turn over its internal records regarding its alleged role in online prostitution and sex trafficking. In case you haven’t been following the story, back in August, a federal judge gave Backpage ten days to turn over its records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee has been investigating Backpage for some time and has been attempting to get these records for almost a year. Backpage was given a stay after that ruling, but soon afterwards the stay was lifted. This prompted Backpage to appeal to the Supreme Court, which as I mentioned refused to block the subpoena. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes Backpage’s deadline to turn over records right about…now.

While Backpage has seem to run out of their judicial bag of tricks they still seem to be hemming and hawing about turning over the records

“The volume of documents and data required to be processed, reviewed, redacted and logged renders production of every last responsive document and complete privilege logs by September 13, 2016 impossible regardless of best efforts,” the company’s lawyers said, adding that they hoped the tens of thousands of pages they were producing would be evidence of good faith.

My main concern is when it comes to Ferrer himself. If any legislative action is handed down I’m afraid he’ll just head back to The Netherlands where Backpage’s parent company is located, and where Ferrer helps run other sex sites that are even less subtle than Backpage. However, this now oft-repeated quote continues to make my day…

Backpage lawyer Liz McDougall declined to comment.

As always though, you shouldn’t count out Backpage just yet. They have more lives than the proverbial cat, and if history is any indicator, greed is a powerful motivator for evil to survive.

60-year-old Wisconsin veterinarian charged with being Backpage sex trafficker

60-year-old Wisconsin veterinarian charged with being Backpage sex trafficker

Brian Lee Kersten

60-year=old Brian Lee Kersten is a veterinarian from Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, which has a population of not quite 3,000. I’m sure you can just imagine the kindly looking old man mending injured puppies or delivering a litter of kittens, but police consider him part of a major sex trafficking ring.

Kersten is not only accused of allegedly trying to trick a woman into prostituting herself on Backpage by promising her a legitimate job, but he’s also accused of travelling to China, with an associate, in order to being back girls and women into the country illegally to work as prostitutes for him.

This shows that sexual slavery, and Backpage’s involvement, is not just a big city problem and it’s not just being committed by minorities, like some people think. It’s also in small town America being committed by local businessmen or supposed pillars of the community. Because of Backpage, sexual slavery, human trafficking and child prostitution is happening all over our country.

Backpage granted temporary stay by Supreme Court

Backpage granted temporary stay from Supreme Court

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

In my previous post about Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, I mentioned that it would be more difficult for Backpage to appeal to the Supreme Court after being ordered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to turn over their internal records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Not surprisingly, that didn’t stop Ferrer and Backpage from filing an appeal with the US Supreme Court today, who granted them a temporary stay. In the ruling the court gave Senate lawyers until the 9th to respond.

Once again, like the scoundrel and coward that he is, Ferrer is trying to hide behind the First Amendment claiming that the ads Backpage hosts for prostitution are protected speech. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the First Amendment was crafted so that a free press could question the government without fear of reprisal. It wasn’t meant for shady businessmen to make profits from those who peddle other human beings in the sex trade.

Hopefully logic and basic human decency will prevail and Backpage will lose this appeal as well. If that does happen, it will be interesting to see if Backpage attempts to defy an order from the Supreme Court.

Backpage loses latest bid to keep records private

Backpage loses latest bid to keep records private

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

The last we heard from Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, he was ordered to turn over all of Backpage’s records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Instead of doing that, Backpage was given a stay to make a case for themselves. Backpage has always claimed that the First Amendment protects them from prosecution as their ads for prostitution are protected speech. Earlier today, the appeals court lifted that stay saying that Backpage’s free speech argument was lacking. That means that Backpage has 10 days to turn over all their records to the Senate subcommittee. This must have been a great blow to Backpage as their mouthpiece, attorney Liz McDougall, refused to comment on whether or not Backpage will appeal to the Supreme Court for another stay, which the Cleveland.com article says is more difficult to obtain. While I wish this was the end of the story, don’t count Backpage out yet. They’ve survived some pretty drastic measures against them, like not being able to accept credit card payments. They may be devious enough to pull another trick out of their collective hats.

However, if this is the beginning of the end for Backpage, don’t shed a tear for them. This is not a blow against a free press, this is a victory for all the girls and women who have suffered at the hands of pimps and traffickers that advertised their victims on Backpage.

Backpage ordered to comply with Congressional investigation

Backpage ordered to comply with Congressional investigation

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

I wish I hadn’t put off blogging for so long, because it turns out this story is kind of time sensitive.

This past Friday, a federal judge gave Backpage just 10 days to turn over documentation requested by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. This is the subcommittee that has been investigating Backpage’s alleged role in the sex trafficking of women and children on its website. Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer has argued that the Senate’s investigation violates Backpage’s right to free speech and violates due process. The judge disagreed in her ruling and gave Backpage to the 15th to submit the requested documentation.

It will be interesting to see how Backpage reacts since their strategy up to this point has been to run and hide. When Ferrer was subpoenaed to appear before congress last year, his reaction was to simply not show up claiming business matters in Amsterdam were more pressing. This led to the Senate holding Backpage in contempt and being the first entity in 20 to be sued by the Senate.

I don’t know if I can wait to see what Backpage has up their sleeve this time. If this is any indication…

Backpage attorney Elizabeth McDougell declined to comment.

…then Backpage may finally be out of tricks.

US Senate files lawsuit against Backpage

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

In the wake of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer no-showing a congressional hearing on sex trafficking and the Senate voting to hold Backpage and Ferrer in contempt, the US Senate is now filing a lawsuit against Backpage. This lawsuit, the first filed by the Senate in 20 years, is meant to compel Backpage to turn over internal records about how it monitors the ads for prostitution and what length it goes to in order to prevent minors from being trafficked on their site. Backpage has also been accused of editing ads so the people placing the ads will avoid police action. It will be nothing if not entertaining to see how the worms that run Backpage try to protect how they make millions of dollars off the victims of human trafficking and child prostitution.

US Senate holds Backpage in contempt


In light of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer refusing a subpoena to appear before congress the U.S. Senate voted to hold Backpage in contempt last week. This means that the Senate could file a lawsuit against Backpage.

A Senate subcommittee investigation believes that Backpage is complicit in assisting pimps and traffickers with their ads for prostitution….

For example, the site edits ads before they’re posted, often removing evidence of law-breaking in its “adult” classifieds, the probe determined. Backpage removes certain words from ads that would trip alarm bells, and it permanently deletes metadata from posts’ images that could allow law enforcement to determine who posted an illegal ad, according to the Senate investigation.

If that allegation is true then Backpage’s usual defense under the archaic Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 would be negated. Usually Backpage cites the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech to stay in business but if they are actively editing the ads in order to skirt the law then that speech is no longer protected.

When a podcast pursues prostitution


I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently when the subject turned to prostitution. Now this wasn’t some hard-hitting news podcast but more of a humor/entertainment podcast. The podcast participants started commenting about how prostitution should be legal and how they don’t see it as a problem. I had to turn the podcast off at that point. I wasn’t offended but I just knew I would get frustrated listening to what essentially came down to the much cited myth of ‘consenting adults’. I just don’t see how legalizing prostitution would magically eliminate all the problems that go along with it. How would that eliminate human trafficking, child prostitution, rape, organized crime, drug addiction, violence against the prostitutes committed by both johns and pimps, and the like?

As is usually the case when this subject comes up a lot of people will point to places like Amsterdam and Nevada as examples of how legalized prostitution is flourishing. Sadly the reality here is even in legal zones like those mentioned all the aforementioned problems still take place.

Do I think the podcasters were trying to push some pro-sexual slavery agenda? No, of course not. Like too many people they are just uneducated on what prostitution really entails beyond the ‘consenting adults’ mantra.