What I find hilarious about this is they came to the site from my Pinterest which had this picture on it…
Poking society in the eye with a sharp pointy stick
What I find hilarious about this is they came to the site from my Pinterest which had this picture on it…
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?
So what do you think? Should I give Liz McDougall’s picture the Jim Buckmaster treatment?
This article from the Miami Herald is about a 16-year-old girl at a foster home who was lured away and allegedly turned out on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com by Gregory Goellet Hodge Jr. That’s not what I want to talk to you about though. Once again the head legal weasel mouthpiece for Backpage and all around corporate whore, Liz McDougall, has opened up her gaping maw once again about how great Backpage is for stopping the sex trafficking of children.
Liz McDougall, general counsel for Village Voice Media, said the company screens ads in its adult section twice before they go up, once by a computer and once by a person, and a third time after the ads are published looking for signs of illegal activity. Once they’ve been notified of a law enforcement investigation, they immediately cooperate, she said.
In my opinion the ads are probably being screened by a TRS-80, an intern, then left to the non-existent community policing. I wonder how much money it takes to get Liz McDougall to believe her own lies? I can hardly go a week without posting about a minor girl who was being trafficked on Backpage. Just imagine how many more never make it to the news that are being peddled into sexual slavery under the watchful eye of Joey the creepy intern and his 30-year-old computer.
In the state of Washington law SB 6251 was set to take effect today. The law would require that sites like Backpage and papers like Village Voice Media publications would be required to verify the ages of the people in ‘escort’ ads. (ie, prostitution and trafficking ads)
Village Voice Media and Backpage being the stalwart defenders of the disadvantaged that they are not only sued to have the low blocked, they won, for now. Once again the greedy cowards at VVM hide behind the federal Communications Decency Act. Now I’m no legal expert but the essence of the CDA was to protect site owners from when one of their troll users posted something criminal or inflammatory on their websites. What the CDA never accounted for was website owners making millions of dollars on women and children being forcibly sold into sex slavery. Not to mention that the CDA was passed in 1996. In terms of internet years that was a lifetime ago. That’s when people were still using dial-up to connect to their AOL accounts on 28.8K modems. The internet has evolved so much in that time yet the CDA is stuck in the era of the dancing baby. It’s an archaic law that is in desperate need of a modern upgrade.
Of course we have a quote from Backpage’s new head legal weasel Liz McDougall about how the fine folks at Backpage shit puppies and rainbows…
Company lawyer Liz McDougall said that Backpage is “an online industry leader in working cooperatively with law enforcement to identify, arrest and prostitute…I mean prosecute human traffickers,” and that Washington’s law would force criminal conduct back underground, where it’s harder to track.
“The trafficking of children for sex is an abomination,” she said in a written statement. “I believe aggressive improvements in technology and close collaboration between the online service community, law enforcement and (nongovernmental organizations) is the best approach to fighting human trafficking.”
I may have altered the quote somewhat. Joking aside what she’s really saying is that this law interferes with Backpage and VVM making money hand over fist keeping their dead industry alive on the backs of rape victims. If Backpage were to shut down the adult section it would not make traffickers harder to track and it would decrease their numbers greatly. Backpage may be the leader of online trafficking today but they still don’t come close to the numbers that craigslist had at the height of their involvement in the sex trade. When sites like craigslist and Backpage shut down their erotic/adult sections the number of sex traffickers decrease. The harder you make the threshold of entry higher for traffickers to post online it would greatly decrease their presence.
Basically this is an article from the Boston Herald about how various officials in Massachusetts are appalled by how so many women and children are being trafficked on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com. Your usual banter from politicians however what I want to talk about is what Village Voice Media legal weasel Liz McDougall had to say about this.
“Backpage is working diligently to rid its site of human trafficking,” McDougall said. “Although Backpage is a for-profit business, it does not want to make a single penny off of this abhorrent activity.”
She is either a liar or a blind fool. Not only does backpage make ‘pennies’ off of the sex trafficking by most reports they made two billion seven-hundred million pennies off of their prostitution ads in a year.
If Backpage and Village Voice Media really find human trafficking that abhorrent then they would shut down the adult section. It’s that simple.
Recently the feds handed down a 50 page indictment against one 27-year-old Johnelle L. Bell of New Jersey for allegedly running a nationwide prostitution and human trafficking ring on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.
The ring was based out of Little Rock, Arkansas but trafficked women and girls as young as 17 in at least a dozen states from November of 2009 to June of 2011.
Bell is said to have used the typical cowardly pimp tactics. The girls thought they were in a relationship with Bell before he turned them out on Backpage. He violently assaulted the girls including chokings, beatings and whippings with a belt. There was also the threats of violence against their families. He even had one girl tattooed with his street name of ‘Victorious P’.
Also charged in this ring was 21-year-old Brittany Lawson. While Bell and Lawson were advertising the girls on Backpage Lawson was checking out other women on Backpage that they thought they could ‘recruit’. So in essence Backpage is the new slave trade market.
Of course in such a headline grabbing bust Backpage’s head legal weasel Liz McDougall had something to say of little to no value…
Liz McDougall, general counsel at Village Voice Media, said she was still reading through the indictment Thursday. Generally, she said, “When the feds are able to indict a pimp or a trafficker, I think that is a really good thing.”
No shit? How about commenting on how Backpage facilitated in the trafficking and beatings of these girls? How about commenting on where the money goes from the ads that Bell took out goes? Anything? No. Instead you blather about how it’s a good thing that a pimp was indicted like a mindless drone who had been fed her lines. Tell me Ms. McDougall, is someone at Village Voice Media beating you and threatening your family? If not you’re sure acting like it.
UPDATE 6/7/2012: Johnelle Bell has had his bail denied.
UPDATE 10/14/2012: Lawson has pleaded guilty.
UPDATE 12/2/2012: Bell has been convicted.
Backpage’s new head legal weasel, Liz McDougall, is back in the press again talking about how much she cares about mone…I mean human trafficking.
First a little tidbit I didn’t know about Ms. McDougall. Her former law firm did some work with craigslist when they were catching heat for their erotic services section. So it seems Ms. McDougall has a history of selling out the women and children who are being trafficked as sex slaves on the internet.
Now let’s get to some of the actual words that Ms. McDougall had to say…
I don’t enjoy the scrutiny. It’s scary, and it can be very unpleasant. As long as we fight trafficking, I can live with people demonizing us.
If they shut down the adult category, I’ll leave. Backpage is best positioned to fight this. If that happens and I quit, I don’t know what I’ll do. This is all-consuming for me.
First off let me restate that basic logic dictates that Backpage can’t be both the problem and the solution.
Now let me get out my bullshit to English dictionary and translate what I think Ms. McDougall is really saying…. *ahem*
As long as Backpage keeps paying me large amounts of money I’ll put up with being demonized in society. It’s totally worth it.
If they shut down the adult category I’ll be out of a job and probably won’t be able to work anywhere else after taking this gig. I really love getting paid out of that sweet $27 mil they get for the sex ads.
Maybe it’s time I start giving Ms. McDougall’s picture the same treatment I gave Jim Buckmaster’s back in the day. Because like I said before someone who does something just for the sake of money is a whore.
I’ve posted about Liz McDougall before. She’s the new legal mouthpiece for the human trafficking division of Village Voice Media, aka Backpage.com. Recently she penned an editorial for the Seattle Times defending backpage’s (ahem) reputation. I’m surprised it wasn’t exclusively in one of VVM’s fish wrappers but I digress.
It’s the usual B.S. we hear from backpage about how they’re supposedly fighting the good fight against sex trafficking and child prostitution and how if they were to close down their adult section trafficking would just go ‘underground’.
What really got me about the piece is how passionate Ms. McDougall allegedly is about fighting human trafficking…
Weeks ago, I was a lawyer litigating high-profile Internet and cybercrime cases, and providing pro bono services to help victims of abuse, exploitation and civil-rights violations, including human trafficking. Today, I am still fighting cybercrime and human exploitation — but as general counsel for Village Voice Media Holdings, owner of Backpage.com.
Why did I make this move?
Because human trafficking, especially sex trafficking of children, is a social atrocity. Because I have children. Because I want human trafficking to stop. Because I believe Backpage.com is a critical ally to make it stop.
I didn’t leave a successful law partnership to sit on my hands and verbally defend a company accused of making money on illegal activity. I chose to work with Village Voice Media because of its active engagement to fight human trafficking and the opportunity to help it and the online industry do more.
How can anybody in their right mind actually believe that backpage and Village Voice Media are combating human trafficking while making millions of dollars a year from it. I would imagine that VVM must have waved a lot of money in front of her to compromise her supposed principles.
Wait a second. Someone who does something they don’t believe in for money? Doesn’t that make someone….dare I say it…a whore?
I’ve been in the medical corporate world for 24 years now. I’ve done and said some pretty stupid things to advance in the corporate world. Nothing malicious. Mostly admitting to skills that I didn’t have or pretending to share an interest with my superiors. Some times the gamble paid off other times it didn’t. One thing I never did though was compromise my principles.
If a boss had ever asked me to commit fraud or any other kind of illegal act for my job I would have walked out on the spot. This is why I can’t understand why Backpage’s new head legal weasel, Liz McDougall, says the things that she does.
This past week she was called to testify before the City Council of New York City. The council is considering a resolution urging Village Voice Media to cease the adult section on Backpage since it’s an obvious avenue for the sex trafficking of women and children.
She said the usual about how Backpage is actually helping combat sex trafficking by keeping the adult sections open. That’s nothing new. We’ve been hearing that since craigslist came under fire for the erotic services section. I mean she can’t really believe that can she? You can’t be both the problem and the solution at the same time. She must be doing this in order to try to advance her legal career. She’s even invoking her own daughter to do it too…
“I do acknowledge the role that we play,” McDougall replied. “I have a 15-year-old daughter. My heart breaks for these children. And the last thing I would ever want is my daughter exposed to something like this, which is why I am so adamant about fighting this.”
But she’s not. If she was adamant about fighting this she would be advising VVM to shut down the adult sections. Instead she’s parroting what her employers want her too. This is nothing new that we haven’t heard out of backpage before. Change the player but not the lines does not make a difference.
Thankfully the council was not buying it…
“Are you thinking of setting up a drug dealing section of the Backpage website?,” asked Councilman Brad Lander, the resolution’s co-sponsor, in the midst of a tense exchange in which McDougall was repeatedly interrupted.
“I refuse to answer that question,” she said.
“How about a gun-trading or weapons-trading section?”
“I refuse to answer that question.”
“By your logic, wouldn’t they be extremely helpful in prosecuting drug-dealing and weapons-trading because, if they could just be brought online, taken out of off-shore websites and brought into the light, it would be far easier to refer them to law enforcement?”
“I don’t believe that sarcasm and rhetorical questions like this—”
She didn’t get a chance to finish.
“You have made clear that, in your opinion, this issue is grossly complex,” said Lander, concluding his line of questioning a few minutes later. “To me, it’s just gross.”
And as far as the argument goes that shutting backpage down would be worse for law enforcement….
Daniel Alonso, Manhattan’s chief assistant district attorney, said sites like Backpage “enable traffickers to drum up demand for what they believe is a product,” and that “we don’t buy” the argument that shutterering Backpage.com’s adult ads would only serve to drive sex-trafficking further underground and out of view from law enforcement.
“We’re doing just fine without having to troll the Internet,” he said.
As the kids say, someone got told.
Backpage crime post #208
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #797
The other night ABC’s Nightline did a story on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com. I missed it and you probably missed it too. Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can watch it now. I implore you to watch this video. It’s not too long but packs a punch in what it has.
I was horrified after I watched this video. Not just because the of the story of Jessica who as a teen was slashed in the face by her pimp with a potato peeler and then ate the skin. Not just because of the story of Megan who was turning 20 tricks a night through backpage. I was mostly horrified by backpage’s new head legal weasel Liz McDougall.
How arrogant can she possibly be. To honestly think that backpage is the solution and not the problem and to think that she’s smarter than 48 state attorneys general. Not to mention how she refused to answer about the millions that backpage makes off of these ads.
But the one thing that truly scared me is something that was just glossed over by the story. Backpage is looking to move their operations off shore away from possible US prosecution. Does that sound like something a company would do to combat human trafficking or to perpetuate it?
Is anybody really being fooled by this? The better question is why aren’t more people outraged by this?
Thanks to Cori for the tip.
Backpage crime post #207
Prostitution/Human Trafficking post #796