Tag Archives: lawsuit

Texas bill would allow sex trafficking victims to sue Backpage

Lawmakers Expect Fight Against Anti-Trafficking Bill:

This story is a couple of weeks old but still relevant.

In the Texas senate a bill called Senate Bill 94 would allow victims of sex trafficking to sue any publisher “of an advertisement that led to their victimization.” That means that any sex trafficking victim that was advertised in Texas would be able to sue websites that they were advertised on like Backpage and other sites but mostly Backpage.

As usual though the free speech argument is being thrown out there but I still don’t see how profiting from sexual slavery is a free speech issue. As I am fond of saying while people are quick to defend the supposed First Amendment rights of sleaze like Backpage barely anyone is willing to step up to protect the victims’ Thirteenth Amendment rights.

I’m sure the Federal Communications Decency Act will come up as well which holds websites harmless if their users participate in illegal activity on their website. That law was passed in 1996. It’s old enough to drive now. In internet years that makes it an archaic law. I’m sure the drafters of it did not have a major website profiting from child prostitution in mind when the law was written. Again in internet terms, this law is about as up to date as prohibition.

But no it’s more important for Backpage to be able to advertise women and girls for sex than it is the well-being of the women and children sold. And people wonder why I think humanity is a lost cause.

ICP sues FBI. WTF?

The Insane Clown Posse Will Sue The FBI:

Last year the FBI named Juggalos as one of the most dangerous gangs in the country. Think about that for a second. The FBI, the nation’s law enforcement, supposedly the brightest minds in criminal investigation, have put Juggalos on the same threat level as Crips, Bloods and MS-13. Ninja please.

While it pains me to say this it takes brains and effort to run a large gang, something most Juggalos are severely lacking. While I have been down on the clowns as it were, having the feds classify them as a gang is an extreme waste of taxpayer money. While there are gangs of Juggalos not all Juggalos are gang members. For the most part they’re either suburban white kids with no taste in music or stoners who are so baked they don’t realize that painting your face like an idiot is for kids at birthday parties.

Having said that the band that started it all, Insane Clown Posse, are now suing the FBI to get their fans declassified as a gang. This isn’t a waste of the legal system at all. Not to mention do you really want to piss off the FBI? I’m not saying it’s right but they could make ICPs life a living hell if they wanted to.

Anyway the while situation is laughable. I would think that the FBI would have better things to do with their time like, oh I don’t know, fight human trafficking rather than picking a fight with a bunch of retarded mimes.

Whoever wins, we all lose.

3 teen sex trafficking victims sue Backpage (From the mouth of Liz McDougall IV)

Someone asked that Liz gets the Jim Buckmaster treatment so there it is.

Backpage.com led to exploitation, says suit involving 2 Pierce girls:

3 Washington teenagers sue Backpage.com:

Speaking of Backpage, Washington and lawsuits, because we were you know, three teenage girls from Washington State are suing the Village Voice Media owned Backpage.com. The suit alleges that Backpage did little or nothing to prevent the girls from being sold for sex on their website. Basically Backpage has a button that says ‘click if you’re 18′. Yeah, that works. Two of the girls suing were 13 when they were sold on Backpage, the other was 15.

One of their pimps I’ve blogged about before. Baruti Hopson found the 15-year-old girl as a runaway before turning her out on Backpage. He raped her and kept all her money keeping her in sexual slavery to him.

Of course no lawsuit involving Backpage wouldn’t be complete without their head legal weasel and corporate whore, Liz McDougall chiming in. Settle in folks. It’s a long one.

Seattle attorney Liz McDougall, general counsel for Backpage’s corporate owners, said the lawsuit will not pass legal muster and is barred by federal law.

McDougall offered sympathy for the young women.

I wonder if she offered sympathy while counting the money she made from Backpage that was made off of these girls? But I digress…

“The commercial sexual exploitation of children is an abhorrence in our society,” she said. “It is appalling as a street crime and it is appalling as an Internet crime,” McDougall wrote in an e-mailed note.

“The stories of the girls identified in the complaint are tragedies. However, the commercial sex exploitation of children is an extremely complex problem on the streets and online, and it must be fought intelligently.

“Backpage.com is at the forefront of fighting it intelligently online with a triple-tier prevention system and an unparalleled law enforcement support system.”

It’s not complex at all. If Backpage shuts down the adult section it will decrease the number of women and children being trafficked nationwide. That was seen when craigslist shut down their erotic services section. As far as your triple layered prevention cake, it’s a lie. (See what I did there.) Joking aside my site is a testament to the fact their so-called preventions aren’t preventing shit. As far as your law enforcement support system being unparalleled I call bullshit on that as well because your system seems to be letting the cops handle all the pimps and sex traffickers while VVM props up a dying print industry on the victims of trafficking.

She finishes up by saying…

McDougall, attorney for Backpage, said shutting down the website won’t fix the problem.

“Unless the Internet is wholly shut down, the end result of the current strategy will be that our children are advertised through offshore websites who do not endeavor to prevent such activity,” she wrote.

Ah yes, the mystical ‘underground’ I keep hearing about. If it’s underground that means it’s not as prevalent in mainstream society as it is now. That would mean that there would be fewer victims of sex trafficking than there are now. Besides, law enforcement has plenty of experience in dealing with the underground. As for these ‘offshore sites’ she keeps referring to well thanks for giving the traffickers ideas and those sites wouldn’t have near the reach and publicity that Backpage does now.

At what point did you start believing your own lies Liz?

Backpage child trafficking lawsuit dismissed

Federal judge dismisses teen’s sex trafficking lawsuit against website:

I originally posted about the lawsuit against backpage here. For those of you who may not remember a 14-year-old girl from st. Louis sued backpage after she was prostituted on the site by 27-year-old Latasha Jewell McFarland. The lawsuit accused backpage of knowingly turning a blind eye to the trafficking of children that happens on their site. Unfortunately the lawsuit was recently dismissed.

The presiding judge threw out the suit based on the Communications Decency act which basically absolves any website of responsibly for content posted by its users. This act was put into place in 1996. In internet terms it might as well have been put in place during the Paleozoic era. I’m sure that when it was enacted in 1996 that it’s authors had no idea that this is what it would be used to protect, that it would be used to absolve those who know that children are being trafficked on their site and refuse to do anything about it.

This is not an argument about a ‘free internet’. This is an argument about real people who aren’t so free. The Communications Decency Act needs to be revised in the name of justice.

Backpage crime post #147
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #734

Village Voice Media asks for dismissal of child trafficking lawsuit

Backpage.com Urges Dismissal Of Teen’s Sex Trafficking Lawsuit:

Rather than doing the right thing Village Voice Media has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit against them filed by a girl who was trafficked on backpage.com.

Once again they’re hiding behind the Communications Decency Act. A law that was passed in 1996 which in internet years is a lifetime ago. But what the CDA doesn’t address is what if a website opens up a section for obvious illegal activity?

You would think that Village Voice Media would know that this would come as bad PR if it was actually reported except in industry circles. That’s how the problems with craigslist first started being reported. Unfortunately it took 2 high profile murders for the rest of the world to catch up. Hopefully it won’t take the rest of the world that long to get on to backpage.

Rather than hiding behind an arcane law maybe they should do the right thing and shut down their adult section. You would think that they would have learned from craigslist’s mistakes yet here we are.

Geebo.com never hid behind anything.

The fight isn’t over yet. Help spread the word on craigslist and backpage crime by winning a free CraigsCrimeList T-Shirt.

Backpage crime post #76
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #653

Infamous backpage child trafficker sentenced

You may have read the name Latasha McFarland on this site before. She was the st. Louis woman accused of prostituting a 14-year-old neighbor girl on the Village Voice owned backpage.com. This was the story in which the 14-year-old victim has filed a lawsuit against backpage.

After pleading guilty to prostitution charges McFarland was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison. She sobbed when the sentence was read but I bet she had no tears when she sent someone else’s daughter to have sex with child rapists.

McFarland only got 5 years because of a plea deal. Prosecutors dropped a charge of trafficking a minor. They should have dropped the prostitution charge and sentenced her for trafficking. Again my tax dollars shouldn’t be going towards making deals with child traffickers. They should be going to keeping them behind bars as long as possible.

The fight isn’t over yet. Help spread the word on craigslist and backpage crime by winning a free CraigsCrimeList T-Shirt.

Backpage crime post #73
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #638

Press release of attorney suing backpage

A few weeks ago I posted the press release from the Village Voice owned backpage.com about their response to the lawsuit filed against them by a victim of sex trafficking that allegedly took place on their pages.

In the interest of fairness here is the press release from the attorney, Robert Pedroli Jr., who is filing the lawsuit on behalf of his client.

Today, Pedroli & Gauthier has filed a lawsuit against Village Voice Media, LLC, which is doing business as backpage.com. This is the same company that owns the company that operates River Front Times and many other alternative newspapers around the country. The backpage.com is an internet website that allows advertisements to be placed for a fee and is very similar to Craigslist. Craigslist has recently removed its adult services section from its website.

The suit was filed on behalf of an unnamed girl, through her Mother, who was the victim of sex trafficking as a fourteen year old child. Her female pimp, who recently plead guilty in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to charges relating to the allegations raised in the lawsuit, used the backpage.com website to post advertisements which contained child pornography and advertised the child on line in thinly veiled language, as being available for sexual contacts.

This case is different from the many cases against internet content facilitators which have thus far failed. To our knowledge this is the first case to proceed under the Child Abuse Victim’s Rights Act (CAVRA) private cause of action statute, alleging that the facilitator was liable for aiding and abetting the person guilty of posting the content and perpetrating the criminal violations of law. Aiding and abetting can constitute a strong suspicion that these child crimes were being committed and that it failed to investigate for fear of what it would learn.

If we are successful, our hope is that the financial punishment will shut down the websites as we don’t believe that these businesses will be able to ensure the age of all escorts posting on their websites in an economically feasible manner. We hope that, if any of these types of businesses incur possible liability for any child who is posted on their site, then the profitable business model fails. It will be difficult for these websites to continue in light of the great financial exposure they will face due to child sexual trafficking.

If companies like Village Voice Media don’t care about the trafficking of women and children they will when this and other lawsuits take a big chunk out of their bank account. Let’s face it. Print media is dying. Village Voice Media needs the money from these ads in order to survive.

Again Geebo.com never made a dime off of human trafficking.

Help spread the word on craigslist and backpage crime by winning a free CraigsCrimeList T-Shirt. Link is fixed now.

Backpage crime post# 66
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #620

Backpage responds to lawsuit

Backpage.com, VVMH Helped FBI Catch Child Predator:

In response to the lawsuit filed against them by a victim of child trafficking Village Voice Media owned Backpage.com released the following press release. Since its a press release I’m going to copy and paste the whole thing. I mean they want the press right? I’m more than happy to give it to them.

PHOENIX, AZ–(Marketwire – September 19, 2010) – On Friday, an attorney attempted to milk a tragedy by suing Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC and its related entity Backpage.com in a child predator case in which Backpage.com’s records helped convict Latasha Jewell McFarland of pimping out a minor.

The lawsuit is riddled with errors. The claim that we knowingly assisted McFarland in committing criminal acts is a lie fabricated by a trial lawyer looking for a payday. The attorney seeks to redirect blame from a convicted predator to Backpage.com, which helped prosecute the criminal.

Without our knowledge, the predator violated our terms of use. Backpage.com has stringent safeguards in place to ensure that only adults use the site. We provided the FBI with the perpetrator’s I.P. address and credit-card information.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 recognized that the very nature of the Internet meant that vast traffic depended on the ability of citizens to post directly onto websites like Backpage.com, Facebook, MySpace or eBay, or to have search engines like Google and Yahoo find postings without pre-screening or censorship. The responsibility, under the law, rests with the person supplying the post.

In the last two years, Backpage.com has had 58 million posts, of which 6 million were adult. In this vast exchange of information, law enforcement agencies have asked for our testimony in precisely five underage cases.

Because one case is too many, we have, and we will continue to, cooperate willingly with authorities.

It seems that backpage has the same conundrum that craigslist did. You can’t really pride yourself on helping put a child trafficker behind bars when it was your site that was used as the avenue to pimp out a 14-year-old girl. And they say that ‘without their knowledge’ the trafficker violated their TOS. What do they think everyone posting in their adult section is doing? Again just like craigslist in the past backpage is insulting the intelligence of people who actually care about human trafficking and not the almighty dollar.

Also just like craigslist, backpage likes to throw around the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That was 14 years ago. Isn’t the internet a vastly different place then it was back in ’96? Hell I wasn’t even on the internet back in ’96. When the law was written I’m sure the thought of human trafficking never even crossed their minds. That’s one law that is in desperate need of an overhaul so sites that make money off the backs of children and women forced into sexual slavery would get the repercussions that they’re do.

And again, like I need to say it, backpage is emulating their older friend craigslist by claiming that they will continue to work with authorities. Yet they still won’t do anything to prevent law enforcement from being called in the first place.

Same song, different band.

Here’s the windup, and the pitch. If you want to use a site that has never had to dance around issues like this I recommend Geebo.com.

Backpage crime post# 63
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #616

Child trafficking victim to sue backpage

Girl prostituted at 14 sues online ad site:

The other day I posted about a 14-year-old girl that was trafficked on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com. Now that same girl, who is now 15, is suing backpage for allowing her to be trafficked.

The girl was trafficked by 27-year-old Latasha Jewell McFarland who has already pleaded guilty and is looking at prison time.

The girl’s attorney, Robert Pedroli, is aware that the Federal Communications Decency Act absolves most websites of content posted by its users however he says that the Child Abuse Victims Rights Act supersedes that.

“We allege they are the facilitators,” Pedroli said. “They provide an online safe house for these pimps and these johns to meet. They are aiders and abetters under federal law.”

No word on how much they’re suing for but I wish them well and I hope this will bring more attention to backpage who isn’t even pretending to be doing anything about this.

Again, Geebo.com, never trafficked, never will.

Help spread the word on craigslist and backpage crime by winning a free CraigsCrimeList T-Shirt.

Backpage crime post# 62
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #615

Judges tosses out craigslist suit against SC

Judge nixes suit:

Last year South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster threatened craigslist with prosecution if they did not remove the adult services sections in South Carolina by May 15th. This was done in the wake of the murder of Julissa Brisman. I still think it’s political grandstanding but sometimes the ends justify the means.

Craigslist fired back with a lawsuit against Mr. McMaster saying that his threat of prosecution was a violation of free speech. A federal judge issued a restraing order against Mr. McMasters’s office on behalf of craigslist while the merits of craigslst’s lawsuit against McMaster were considered.

Guess what. They’ve been considered and the same judge who granted the restraining order has thrown out craigslist’s lawsuit saying…

…no one at Craigslist has been charged with a crime and that it was premature to decide whether its activities were exempt from prosecution.

Personally I think McMaster is another clueless politician but if he can make charges stick against craigslist I will tout him as the greatest AG in the country.

Don’t make me sue you. Win a free CraigsCrimeList T-Shirt.

Craigslist crime post #1284
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #575