Back in 2012, three women filed a lawsuit against Backpage in the state of Washington. They claimed they were underage when they were forcibly trafficked for sex on the website. Previous lawsuits like this filed against Backpage have failed, however, in 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed.
This story has huge implications when it comes to the future, or lack thereof, of Backpage. The first is that this is obviously an attempt to appease Congress who has been breathing down Backpage’s neck with supposed evidence of criminal activity in the way Backpage edits their ads. The second is that Backpage’s other pending lawsuits against them in the states of Texas, California, and Alabama, may either proceed or be settled as well. These settlements can’t be exactly cheap for Backpage. This could lead to even more lawsuits and more settlements until Backpage is hopefully bankrupt. I could see the triumvirate of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, and founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin paying out millions of dollars in order to avoid any kind of real prison time.
Maybe, just maybe, this is finally the writing on the wall for Backpage.
The pregnant victim gave birth about a month before her due date in March. The arrest documents said the child tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine and opiates shortly after being born at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
Tell me again about consenting adults.
Let’s also not forget the money Backpage made from the victim’s ads.
And we go back to Houston, Texas, where 30-year-old Clifton Campbell has been arrested for allegedly forcibly prostituting a woman on Backpage. Police say when the woman tried to leave Campbell, he punched her in the throat and in the eye. Please tell me about consenting adults again.
And Backpage still continues to collect that ad revenue from scum like this. More people should be outraged about this rather than whatever the reposted Facebook outrage story of the day is, you know, like football players kneeling, or how dogs would wear pants.
24-year-old Centurrie Deshunn Garrett and 20-year-old Teresa Henry have been charged with various human trafficking charges for allegedly prostituting a 14-year-old girl on Backpage. Reports say the victim was allegedly lured away from Chicago by Henry with the promise of a romantic relationship.
It doesn’t matter if the pimps are men or women, the promise of a romantic relationship is one of the most commonly used tricks by pimps in order to recruit younger girls. There have been too many stories I’ve posted where the girl being trafficked claimed to be her pimp’s girlfriend.
Let’s also not forget these two somehow negotiated their way through Backpage’s stringent safeguards to prevent minors from being turned out on their site. And I by stringent I really mean porous.
Hopefully, these two will be sentenced to a Centurrie.
Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times, is one of the few nationally known journalists who has continually reported on the transgressions of Backpage when it comes to Backpage’s part in the sex trade. In one of his recent columns, Kristoff goes after an even bigger fish in the polluted waters of internet sex trafficking, Google. Google opposes the proposed amendments to the Communications Decency Act that would remove the protections from prosecution that sites like Backpage have been hiding behind, otherwise known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.
Kristoff claims that Google has an unfounded fear when it comes to their argument of a slippery slope with Google claiming the new amendment to the CDA could open them up to frivolous lawsuits. However, a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited children points out the new legislation is crafted in such a way that it only applies to those sites which are directly receiving money from traffickers.
“This bill only impacts bad-actor websites,” notes Yiota Souras, general counsel at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “You don’t inadvertently traffic a child.”
Yet the majority of Silicon Valley is opposing the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act mostly out of fear that it will somehow affect their right to free speech, which couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no slippery slope here. There is no downside. I think what the mostly insular tech community forgets is the victims being bought and sold into sexual slavery on sites like Backpage are real flesh and blood people and not just nameless pixels on a display screen.
Instead of worrying about Backpage’s ‘freedom of speech’ these tech companies should be more worried about the fact that many of the women and girls being trafficked on Backpage have no freedom at all in a country that prides itself on liberty.
Back in December, I was concerned that incoming California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, wouldn’t pursue charges against Backpage like his predecessor Kamala Harris did. Those fears were allayed after the Sacramento County Superior Court overruled defense dismissal motions, meaning prosecution against Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and Backpage shareholders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. While the court dismissed pimping charges against them, again, the court did allow charges of money laundering to remain.
Prosecutors have said that Backpage’s operators illegally funneled money through multiple companies and created various websites to get around banks that refused to process transactions.
“Today’s victory doesn’t exact justice just yet against those who would prey on vulnerable young women and men. But it brings us a step closer.”
Backpage not only allegedly edited their ads to remove any references to underage girls while allowing the ads to remain, they’ve also been accused of copying ads from other websites and soliciting business from people who post sex ads to other sites. Evidence like that could not only prevent Backpage from hiding behind the Communications Decency Act, but could also finally lead to justice for the girls and women who were violently trafficked on Backpage and sold into sexual slavery against their will.
19-year-old Destiny Santilli of Brandon, Florida, was arrested for allegedly prostituting a 16-year-old girl on Backpage. The 16-year-old girl was a runaway at the time. Santilli reportedly took explicit pictures of the girl and posted them to Backpage while keeping most of the money the girl made.
Thanks to Backpage, just about anybody could become a pimp if they want. All you need is a willingness to bend people to your will with force and violence.
And again, this shows one more underage girl who escaped Backpage’s supposed ‘stringent precautions’ that are supposed to keep children from being trafficked on their site. More than likely Backpage probably edited the ad to let it through.
19-year-old Christopher K. White and his 28-year-old girlfriend, Adria Regn, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, are accused of allegedly keeping their 17-year-old babysitter captive and making her work as a prostitute. The girl knew White and thought she would be baby sitting Regn’s kids when the victim went to the couple’s motel room. Instead, she was given meth and weed and was told she needed to work for the couple so the couple could make money.
They took explicit photos of the victim and posted them to Backpage. They are said to have forced her to have sex with up to five men a day for a four-day period. Regn told the victim if the girl didn’t make them money, it would be her fault if Regn lost her kids. White was said to have also threatened to beat her if the victim tried to leave. Any money that was made by the victim was kept by White and Regn. The victim was eventually able to escape and contact police. The pair are looking at a sentence of 20 to life for human trafficking.
Again, if you think Backpage is doing anything to protect girls like this, you’re wrong. I highly doubt the ads these two idiots placed were thoroughly reviewed by anyone at Backpage. If anything, they probably posted the ad in other places too.
That’s not even mentioning Mount Holly is a pretty small town, which shows prostitution and human trafficking have permeated all corners of our country thanks to Backpage. Backpage has made it so easy for anyone to become a pimp and all it takes is a gift card. There’s no depths the greedy heads of Backpage won’t stoop to.
43-year-old Patrick Trottie was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, for allegedly forcing drug-addicted women into prostitution on Backpage. Trottie would reportedly look for women who were going through heroin withdrawal, give them heroin, then tell them they had to prostitute themselves in order to pay back their ‘debt’ to Trottie. The women were forced to give all their money to Trottie and if they tried to leave, he would beat them. One victim who escaped was found hiding behind a dumpster with a swollen face and split lip. Another victim claims Trottie threatened to shoot her if she tried to escape and would hold a gun to her head. So tell me again how this is a victimless crime.
Now, Backpage claims they have several safeguards in place to prevent underage girls from being peddled on their site. A claim which is dubious at best. However, my question is: What is Backpage supposedly doing to prevent women from being forcefully trafficked on their site? I’ll tell you. They’re cashing the checks from these violent pimps while laughing all the way to the bank.
A man from Deerfield Beach, Florida, discovered his 14-year-old runaway sister was being advertised on Backpage as a prostitute. The man posed as a john and had his sister brought to him. It was at that time the man confronted the lowlife who was allegedly turning out his sister.
Police reportedly then caught up with the man, who has been identified as 28-year-old Stanley Martin. Martin is said to have allegedly raped the girl repeatedly before putting her to work.
The girl “did not want to have sexual intercourse with Martin but felt she did not have a choice,” the report says. She was afraid of Martin because of “previous threats of physical violence.”
That’s rape no matter how you look at it.
So far Martin has only been charged with the rapes, but I would imagine he’ll be charged with child prostitution and human trafficking at some point. He is currently being held without bond.
I have to ask all the internet organizations who are leaping to the aid of Backpage in defense of their ‘free speech’: What do you propose to do for the rights of these girls not to be trafficked so strangers can pay money to essentially rape these girls? I haven’t heard any suggestions on that front.