Some readers may scoff that this is about censorship of free speech. No, it’s about human rights — because one of the most searing rights abuses in America is the sexual exploitation of children.
On Backpage’s screening process…
Backpage also makes it hard to search for missing girls by allowing scrambled phone numbers in sex ads. If you sell a dog on Backpage in the pet section, you must post a numeric phone number; sell sex with a girl, and you can use a nonsearchable version — such as zero12-345-six78nine — that makes it more difficult for police or family members to locate a missing child with a simple Internet search.
Likewise, Backpage allows ads to be paid for with untraceable credit cards or even with Bitcoin. It doesn’t require any age verification or real names.
And Backpage’s obvious hypocrisy…
Liz McDougall, the lawyer for Backpage, declined to comment on the allegations in the lawsuits, but she told me: “We remain committed to effective measures of prevention and successful prosecution of this heinous crime.”
That’s absurd. Backpage claims to report possible sex-trafficking cases, but Yiota Souras, the general counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says that “Backpage’s reporting is not conducted in good faith.”
Yet even people who work to get trafficking victims off the street continue to believe that Backpage actually wants to solve a problem that they themselves are not only perpetuating but making millions of dollars from. Without the ads that traffic women in children in sexual slavery Backpage would wither and die, they know that and any thing they say or do is only done with the objective of continuing to make money at the cost of their victims.
Think about it. Do you think that the people, and I use that term loosely, that run Backpage think that all the ads on the adult section of the site are for legal services? Of course not. Any idiot cab see that the ads are for prostitution. Yet they still collect money from these ads while saying they’re doing all they can to stop sex trafficking. Obviously they’re not doing all they can or they’d stop taking the money.
Our favorite spokesweasel, Liz McDougall, was even quoted for the article…
Backpage.com removes or blocks about a million ads per month, notably those that appear to involve minors or sex for money, said Liz McDougall, the site’s general counsel. And it has cooperated with police.
I’d like to see the ads they block since the ones they allow are obviously for sex for money and minors are still being trafficked on their website. Yet they’re still collecting the money. How many of those ads are there for Backpage to collect the millions of dollars they make in profit every year?
So can a website be blamed for prostitution? As long as they’re collecting the money and turning an obviously blind eye to the women and children that are being trafficked on their site then they damn well can be blamed.
Police say that Cornish posted an ad on craigslist advertising for a home health care aide job. Cornish is said to have rapes the victim at his home after a fake interview and telling her he had the job. He is also said to have made her fill out and sign an additional ‘application’ for her to work for him as a prostitute. In my opinion it sounds like he was trying to convince her that she was legally his property now. I have heard of this trick being used before by traffickers.
After the victim escaped and contacted police they found fifty more of these applications which means he could possibly have other rape victims as well.
When dealing with any ad on craigslist Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood said it best.
“There are a lot of sickos out there. You really have to be careful.”
My advice, don’t use craigslist at all for anything.
Right off the bat please allow me to say that I’m not trying to take away any attention from the 230 schoolgirls that were kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. What has happened there is indeed a tragedy. From most reports that I’ve read if these girls are not rescued they will be forced into a life of slavery.
While this is tragic how many people out there that are hashtagging #bringbackourgirs are aware of the amount of women and children who are sold into slavery every day and all around the world, yes even here in the U.S. By now you should know I’m referring to human trafficking.
Every day women and girls are being forced into sexual slavery by pimps and traffickers but they don’t make news because the pimps only do it one girl at a time. I would lay odds that more that 230 new girls are forced into prostitution at least every day in this country. Traffickers promise the girls freedom in a new country yet never let them taste that freedom. Pimps promise a life of money and glamour but only give a life of violence and drugs. How is their plight any less tragic than the schoolgirls in Nigeria? Yet they rarely make the international news.
So let’s not just bring awareness about the girls in Nigeria but to all the girls who are kidnapped in one form or another every day and sold into slavery. Let’s bring back ALL our girls.
The article I linked to from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is about how U.S. Representative Ann Wagner (MO) is endorsing the SAVE Act. The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act would make it illegal for U.S. websites to allow advertising for prostitution.
In the same article the AIM Group claims that 82 percent of all online prostitution takes place on Backpage.
Yet here is all that Backpage’s mouthpiece and lawyer Liz McDougall had to say about it…
“Despite the comments of some legislators, the problem and proposed legislation are Internet-wide, not restricted to or caused by Backpage.”
Which basically translates to ‘Oh yeah? Well what about the other 18 percent?’ Pathetic and cowardly.
I originally posted about the SAVE act proposed by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk here. Backpage has responded to the latest threat through usual means with the typical response.
Let’s hear from Backpage’s legal weasel Liz McDougall…
“The aim of stopping the sex trafficking of minors, indeed the trafficking of any human being, is laudable,” Backpage.com attorney Liz McDougall wrote. “However, identifying and vilifying a single U.S. website (previously craigslist, now Backpage.com) as the cause of the problem and the key to the solution are ill-founded and unproductive.”
So according to Backpage it’s laudable to stop sex trafficking but more importantly it’s profitable so we’re not going to stop. Also vilifying Backpage is not unproductive considering they’re the online leaders of where women and children are trafficked. Unfortunately for right not the law is on Backpage’s side, a badly outdated law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996, but the law nonetheless.
Let’s be realistic here. Backpage makes their money through the purchasing of ads where these women and children are advertised as prostitutes. They’ll make grand gestures that they screen the ads but deep down I think they know where their money is coming from yet Backpage owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin continue to wallow in their prostitution profits while paying Liz McDougall to do tricks for the people.
Unites States Senator Mark Kirk represents the state of Illinois. Along with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez he is hoping to get legislation passed that would allow the government to take action against Backpage for facilitating sex trafficking. If you’ll notice I didn’t mention his political affiliation because when it comes to sex trafficking sides of the aisle shouldn’t matter.
Senator Kirk had some very poignant things to say about the matter…
“As President Obama has said, it’s time to call human trafficking what it really is – modern day slavery,” Sen. Kirk said. “Illinois was the first state in the nation to ratify the 13th amendment that abolished slavery – it makes sense for Illinois to lead the nation in a bipartisan effort to end human trafficking. We can start by putting an end to sex ads on websites like Backpage.com.”
“Everyone in America should be outraged that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin can make millions by victimizing young women,” Sen. Kirk added. “It’s time to bring Lacey and Larkin to justice.”
Lacey and Larkin are the scumbags that own Backpage.
The proposed legislation is called SAVE which stands for Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation. It would allow the government to shut down advertisements on websites promoting underage sex.
What the article I linked to doesn’t mention is that there are two overwhelming obstacles that this act would need to hurdle. The first of course is the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That act absolves website owners of any wrong doing if their users engage in criminal activity. As I’ve said numerous times before in internet years it might as well have been the Communications Decency Act of 1776. I doubt the drafters of the CDA had the sex trafficking of women and children in mind when the act was first passed. The second obstacle is the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the right to free press. Excuse me for not being anything even remotely close to a legal scholar but doesn’t the right for the victims of human trafficking to be free outweigh any right Backpage can claim when they’re making money from slavery? If there are any legal experts reading this please feel free to correct me.
I wish Senator Kirk and State Attorney Alvarez all the best with this but unfortunately the success rate for similar legislation has been nil.
19-year-olds Elijah B. Richardson and Jakia J. York were arrested in Colonie, New York for allegedly forcing a 21-year-old woman into prostitution. The pair are said to have advertised the woman on Backpage. Police say that the pair were keeping the woman hooked on heroin so she’s keep turning tricks for them.
Yet not only do people still believe in the consenting adults myth but Backpage continues to make money hand over fist in this modern-day slave trade. If you want to make the comparison between today’s sex slavery and the slavery prior to the US Civil War consider Backpage the auction house where slaves were bought and sold.
34-year-old Antoine Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was recently arrested for allegedly prostituting a 19-year-old woman on Backpage in Nashville, Tennessee. I was actually going to pass on this story since it’s impossible for me to post about every sex trafficking story that takes place on Backpage. That was until I read how Williams was captured.
The victim used what the article called the state’s little-used human trafficking hotline. In case you were wondering like I was it’s 1-855-55-TNHTH and they have a Facebook page here.
First off, every state should have a human trafficking hotline if not a federal one to help people escape and secondly it should be openly posted in all hotel rooms.