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  • Geebo 10:18 am on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, , , schools   

    California schools to teach human trafficking awareness 

    California schools to teach human trafficking awareness

    While California may be the leading state in the country for human trafficking that doesn’t mean the state is taking it lying down. California is also one of the leaders in the country of human trafficking prosecution. This is the state that is trying to curb human trafficking at one of its roots by prosecuting the CEO and founders of Backpage.

    California is now trying to prevent human trafficking by using one of the greatest weapons known to man, knowledge. Back in October the state legislature passed a law that would require schools to train teachers and educate students on the signs of human trafficking. Let’s not kid ourselves that our children are not being targeted by pimps and traffickers online. With the advent of social media, these predators are using the impressionability of our children with promises of money and independence to lure them into a life of slavery.

    Since many parents are so unwilling to educate their children or are ignorant to the problem themselves that it is up to the schools to warn our children about these dangers. It’s more than high time for the rest of the country to follow California’s lead in this matter since the trafficking of women and children occurs in every state in just about every town.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, Delaware,   

    Backpage shouldn’t be ‘in good standing’ anywhere 

    Backpage shouldn't be 'in good standing' anywhere

    The tiny, three county state of Delaware has long been a tax haven for thousands of corporations. Many high-profile companies incorporate in Delaware due to their lax corporate tax laws that allow many of these companies to get out of paying their fair share of taxes to the state where they actually do business. Many of the country’s leading companies are incorporated at the same nondescript office building in Wilmington.

    One of the companies that is incorporated in Delaware is Backpage, whose main offices are actually in Dallas, Texas. A number of Delaware government officials are concerned about Backpage’s presence in Delaware but say there’s nothing they can do about it. Even though Backpage is responsible for 80% of all online human trafficking in the U.S., are being investigated by Congress, and have had all major credit card companies refuse to do business with the, Backpage is still considered a company ‘in good standing’ by the state of Delaware.

    Both the Delaware Secretary of State and Attorney General say they do not have the legal authority to do anything about Backpage’s standing in Delaware stating they can’t dissolve the company but wish they could. Then maybe it’s time for the legislature of Delaware to give them the legal authority. While a number of companies would probably side with Backpage on this front claiming it starts a dangerous legal precedent, how many of those companies are making their money from the illegal trade of trafficking in human beings? While a company’s main objective is to turn a profit, it shouldn’t be done through the modern-day slave trade.

     
  • Geebo 10:09 am on February 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, , , ,   

    Super Bowl stings catch those who would buy children 

    Super Bowl stings catch those who would buy children

    Previously, we’ve posted about Washington County, Minnesota, and how they’re cracking down on the type of human trafficking that deals in children. This past weekend, Washington County was the site of many Super Bowl visitors due to its proximity to the Twin Cities area of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where the Super Bowl took place.

    They were just one of many police departments that conducted stings to try to catch those who would use sites like craigslist and Backpage to buy children for the purposes of sex. In Woodbury, which is the largest city in Washington County, at least three men were apprehended for allegedly looking for what they thought were children as young as 13 on both Backpage and craigslist. It’s highly doubtful that either website were willing participants in this investigation meaning they allowed ads placed by police posing as children to remain on their platforms. Washington County wasn’t the only task force cracking down on the trafficking of children as over 100 human trafficking arrests were made during Super Bowl week.

    People who say sites like craigslist and Backpage are making it easier for police to find human traffickers are forgetting one thing. It’s also making it much easier for pimps and traffickers to sell women and children against their will. Craigslist and Backpage can’t be both the cause of and solution to human trafficking. That is the textbook definition of a logical fallacy which forgets that the true victims in these cases aren’t craigslist and Backpage but the women and children who are sold unabated on these websites.

     
  • Geebo 9:53 am on January 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, , , Omaha   

    Hotels are at the front line of human trafficking 

    Hotels are at the front line of human trafficking

    When we think of hotels and human trafficking we think mostly of the seedy roadside motel that no one would normally visit under any circumstance. While those places do exist, human trafficking also takes place at the same hotels we use for business and vacations. Think about that for a moment. There may be a victim of human trafficking at the same hotel that you may be staying at with your family.

    The problem has become so prevalent that many police departments and anti-human trafficking groups have taken it upon themselves to educate hotel workers about the problem. For example, the city of Omaha, Nebraska, and The Creighton Human Trafficking Initiative have educated workers at over 100 hotels in Omaha on how to recognize if someone is being trafficked. Often victims are either forced to work out of these hotels are or held captive there being unable to leave due to threats of physical violence.

    The problem is so prevalent nowadays thanks to sites like Backpage that this is only one of many initiatives being held across the country. Human trafficking is one of the most profitable crimes in the world since a person can be sold over and over again unlike something like drugs which require a constant manufacturing process. If more people were aware that human trafficking is happening everywhere and not just in the places we think it’s happening, a lot more could be done to put a stop to it.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, Cyber Patrol, ,   

    Citizens group takes on human trafficking at the source 

    Citizens group takes on human trafficking at the source

    San Diego, California, has unfortunately long been known as a hot spot for human trafficking for several reasons. Due to its proximity to both Los Angeles and Mexico, and the fact that it has a large military population contributes to the amount of trafficking that takes place there. That’s not to disparage either location or our military, but unfortunately that’s the reality of the situation. However, a group of volunteers has taken the fight against human trafficking to its roots, the men who would buy trafficked women and girls from Backpage.

    The Bunch of Guys Cyber Patrol, or Cyber Patrol for short, have taken it upon themselves to warn those who would respond to Backpage ads are contributing to the human trafficking problem. The Cyber Patrol takes out ads that appear to be one of Backpage’s usual trafficking ads. All they’ll have on the ad is a picture of a woman and a phone number. Once the ad is posted it doesn’t take them long to start receiving phone calls from men looking for a woman, the Cyber Patrol responds with a script that details not only the plight of women and girls who are trafficked but also what could happen to the men who patronize these ads.

    The message goes on to say that many of the women advertising their services are underage, or were coerced into the business as minors, and that their pimps often keep all of the money for themselves.

    They are warned that a conviction for solicitation of a minor could turn them into registered sex offenders.

    While the Cyber Patrol are not law enforcement, they will on occasion turn some more concerning cases over to the Human Trafficking Task Force.

    While they may be just chipping away at a much larger problem, taking on the johns of the world is a tactic we need to see more of. It comes down to simple economics really. If you take away the demand, then there’s no need for the supply. By making the johns aware of the problem they’re contributing to, maybe fewer of them will turn to Backpage or other avenues of human trafficking.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, Houston, , ,   

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit

    In the past year or so, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Backpage, the site that tries to disguise itself as a classifieds site but makes most of its money off of sex trafficking ads. Some of these lawsuits have come from families whose daughters were killed in the sex trafficking trade. Others have come from women who were trafficked while underage on Backpage. The one thing that all these lawsuits have in common is that Backpage took money for these ads while knowing exactly what they were for.

    Most recently, Backpage is being sued by an 18-year-old woman from Houston, Texas. She says that she was 15 when she was advertised on Backpage. Her lawsuit alleges that Backpage knowingly edited ads to hide evidence of child sex trafficking. This is the basis of most of the recent lawsuits against Backpage as a Congressional investigative committee found evidence that Backpage was allegedly actively editing their ads in this manner. Due to the findings of that investigation, Backpage has settled at least one lawsuit filed against them by trafficking victims.

    Since Congress has been dragging their feet on providing any kind of real legislative protection for Backpage’s trafficking victims, maybe hitting them in their pockets for millions of dollars in settlements will finally make Backpage realize that it’s not worth it being in the business of selling people.

     
  • Geebo 10:29 am on December 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ashley Benson, Backpage, , , Oregon   

    Backpage being sued in the death of trafficked woman 

    Backpage being sued in the death of trafficked woman

    Recently, it was announced that controversial classifieds site Backpage was being sued again over its alleged role in the sex trafficking trade. Backpage is being sued by the estate of Ashley Benson who was said to have been trafficked on Backpage by an abusive pimp. In 2014, she was strangled to death in a Portland, Oregon, hotel by a john who had been stalking her through Backpage. The lawsuit accuses Backpage of failing to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution on its site and changes user-generated ads in an attempt to downplay the trafficking aspect.

    Historically, Backpage has been successful in court against such lawsuits y hiding behind the antiquated Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, that protection is starting to diminish for Backpage after a Congressional investigative committee found evidence that Backpage was editing the user submitted ads to their legal advantage. After that discovery was made public Backpage settled a major lawsuit in the State of Washington where they were being sued by woman who said they were trafficked on Backpage while being underage.

    With Congress pressing to have the Communications Decency act to be amended to remove protections for websites that traffic women and children, if that legislation is made into law, we could see the floodgates open with lawsuit after lawsuit against Backpage. In the end, that may be the better way to finally put a stop to their hand in sex trafficking as it could potentially take away what Backpage cares about most, the money they make off of the victims of human trafficking.

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Backpage,   

    Sen. Al Franken calls for regulation for sites that can’t police themselves 

    Sen. Al Franken calls for regulation for sites that can't police themselves

    It seems that Senator Al Franken isn’t done with the big three tech companies just yet. In a speech he gave this past Wednesday, Franken still had deep concerns about Facebook, Google and Twitter after they gave vague and unsatisfying answers during the Senate hearing about the Russian political ads on American social media. The Senator claims that these companies are unable to control the unchecked influence they have and suggested that regulation may be required for companies that can’t police themselves.

    While Senator Franken is considering regulation against Google, Facebook, and the like, he may want to consider regulating a couple of other sites that have shown they can’t police their own yards, so to speak. Of course those sites would be craigslist and Backpage.

    While Facebook may have accepted foreign money for American political ads designed to influence the 2016 Pesidential election, craigslist has a long and ever-increasing body count. That’s not even mentioning the number of sexual predators that continually use craigslist to find new victims. As for Backpage, their history of being unable or unwilling to stop the human trafficking that takes place on their site is well documented. Even newcomers like OfferUp and LetGo have been having their own issues with customer violence and scams. While moderation may not be able to stop every crime on these sites and apps, it would go a long way in stopping a majority of them. Since they’re all unwilling to monitor themselves, maybe it is time for the government to intervene in order to protect the customers these other services refuse to.

     
  • Geebo 10:07 am on November 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, , The Internet Association   

    Tech firms reverse position on anti-trafficking bill 

    Tech firms reverse position on anti-trafficking bill

    It seems that something good has come out of the lambasting the US Senate gave tech companies last week over the Russian ads debacle. While that particular problem has no resolution, the senate inquiry has seemed to spark a change of heart for tech firms in at least one area, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

    This is the bill that would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that has allowed sites like Backpage to avoid prosecution for their role in the sex trafficking of women and children. Previously, tech giants like Google had opposed the bill fearing it would open them to potential lawsuits even though the amendment to the CDA specifically targets sites that bad-actor websites. Now, The Internet Association, which represents such tech luminaries as Google, Facebook and Twitter, has reversed their opposition to the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

    While it may not have been done out of the goodness of their hearts, but more to try to get Congress off their backs, this is still an important step towards the bill becoming law. Without as many allies, Backpage’s support is now crumbling. We are now several steps closer to seeing protections enabled to prevent girls and women from being trafficked on sites like Backpage and hopefully the successful prosecution of those who have profited way too long from their victims’ suffering.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Backpage, ,   

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit

    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.

    Yesterday, it was reported Backpage settled the lawsuit with these women, although the details of the settlement have remain undisclosed.

    This story has huge implications when it comes to the future of trafficking on Backpage. The first is, you probably shouldn’t think this is some magnanimous move on Backpage’s part. This is more than likely an attempt to try to get into the good graces of Congress, who supposedly has evidence of criminal activity in the way Backpage edits their ‘adult’ ads. Secondly, this could pave the way either for future settlements or for similar lawsuits pending against Backpage to proceed in states like Texas, California and Alabama. This and future settlements could cost Backpage a pretty penny which could turn Backpage into a company that is no longer profitable.

    Could this be the heads of Backpage trying to ‘donate’ their way out of criminal prosecution? That remains to be seen.

     
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