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  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Washington   

    Backpage ordered to pay trafficking victims, may have to pay more 

    Backpage ordered to pay trafficking victims, may have to pay more

    The now-defunct Backpage is no stranger to lawsuits. The controversial classifieds site has been taken to court by sex trafficking victims for many years now. For the longest time, Backpage would largely escape having to pay any settlements by hiding behind section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, even before FOSTA was passed Backpage was starting to lose whatever goodwill they had in the courts when Congress began revealing evidence they were knowingly facilitating prostitution and profiting from it. When this evidence was made public, it started a multi-state set of lawsuits in early 2017.

    Now, in one of those states, a judge has sanctioned Backpage and ordered them to pay $200,000 each to two underage trafficking victims in Washington State. The ruling in Pierce County came earlier this week when attorneys for the victims argued that Carl Ferrer’s admission of guilt contradicts Backpage’s earlier stance of having done nothing wrong. The judge also gave Backpage 60 days to produce 1.2 million documents sought in the lawsuit or pay a fine of $1.2 million.

    Hopefully, more financial penalties will be levied against Backpage and its string-pullers as that may be the only justice they’ll truly understand. Let’s be reasonable, Carl Ferrer, Jim Larkin, and Michael Lacey will probably not see the prison time they deserve. They can afford high-priced lawyers that could potentially keep them out of jail. The only true way to exact justice on them is to take away the money they greedily made off the blood of their victims.

     
  • Geebo 9:13 am on June 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Washington   

    WA offers resources to trafficking victims 

    WA offers resources to trafficking victims

    One of the problems with human trafficking is that often the victims don’t know where to turn to get help. Too often they’re treated like criminals along with the pimps and traffickers who sell them. So even when they find themselves at police stations, victims don’t know where to turn to get help. Now, the state of Washington is hoping to correct that problem in their state.

    Washington has always been at the forefront of trying to prevent human trafficking and to help its victims. Unfortunately, the Seattle-Tacoma area has long been a hotbed of human trafficking activity. Recently, the Washington State Government has unveiled a new website that looks to assist victims of human trafficking with getting out from under their traffickers. At WATraffickingHelp.Org trafficking victims can find a list of resources ranging from shelter to legal services to healthcare services and more.

    Just because Backpage is gone, doesn’t mean that trafficking magically disappears even though that was a major step in fighting it. Sadly, not as many states are as proactive in helping victims like Washington is. Hopefully, Washington’s initiative to help victims get their life back will spark other states to do the same.

     
  • Geebo 8:22 am on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Washington   

    Can legal weed be sold online? 

    Can legal weed be sold online?

    DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement for the use of or prohibition of recreational marijuana. This is merely the discussion of a topic.

    Whether or not you’re a fan of legal recreational marijuana use or not you can’t ignore the economic impact it has had on states like Colorado and Washington. This industry however, is tightly regulated by the state. Not just anyone can set up shop in these states.

    That hasn’t stopped people from trying to be the modern-day equivalent of street corner pot dealers. In Colorado specifically, police are patrolling online venues looking for illegal marijuana sales. While the recreational use of marijuana may be legal the recreational sale of it is not. Some people are using their medical marijuana cards to legally purchase it then turn around and try to sell it online for a profit. Others are growing their legally allowed personal plants and trying to sell them online. Both of those practices are considered illegal since the sellers are circumventing tax laws and we all know how seriously the government takes their tax money. That’s how the Treasury Dept. was able to apprehend Al Capone.

    Just because something that was previously contraband that has now been made legal doesn’t make the situation like the Wild West. If you use, please use in moderation and obey all local laws and ordinances.

     
  • Greg Collier 11:04 am on October 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Government Shutdown, Washington   

    Note to Washington: Don’t Play Chicken with US 

    I usually try to keep my politics out of my business decisions – but after the Great Government Shutdown of 2013, I think it’s time to speak up.

    You see, when it comes to running my business, I am neither Republican or Democratic. I make decisions about how to run my business based on things like market demands, competitive forces and industry outlooks. I invest in my company when I can. I scale back when I must. But I never stop working.

    I may be my own boss – but I answer to many others when it comes to running my online classifieds site. My clients expect their products and services to appear in the right places so they can reach the right audience. The visitors to my site expect a certain experience when they arrive. My partners expect me to deliver on my end of our agreements.

    I guess that’s what frustrates me the most about the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. We are the people who the elected officials must answer to. We are their bosses, the people who put them into these positions of power and can have them removed. We are the ones who need to remind them that, if they continue to fail to do their jobs, they will lose them.

    I can’t imagine telling my partners that I won’t be paying my bills this month or turning away visitors to my site because of some internal strife among the grown-ups who make decisions about the future direction of the company.

    Frankly, that’s no way to run a business. And while I’ve never subscribed to the idea that a government can be run like a business, it’s also an unacceptable way to run a government. It doesn’t matter what the issue at-hand may be. You don’t shut the doors because you can’t make difficult decisions.

    Yes, Washington is in shambles. Yes, the politicians have corrupted themselves by allowing their motives to be driven by special interests with big checkbooks. Yes, we’re probably looking at another showdown on Capitol Hill when the next budget battle and debt ceiling fight come up again early next year.

    But the message we send now, ahead of the next big showdown should be that it’s never acceptable to use the country – whether it’s the credit rating or day-to-day operations – in a political game of chicken

    Certainly, we can all agree to disagree when it comes to how our government is run. Whether you think we can spend our way out of a recession or believe that drastic spending cuts are the way to prosperity doesn’t matter. How you feel about Obamacare, Medicare or the Department of Energy should not come into play.

    The message that all of us should be sending to Washington – regardless of our political leanings or beliefs – is that it’s never OK to shut the door to government or to become a deadbeat nation. It’s a good thing for the politicians that the government isn’t run like a business. If it were, they’d all be fired.

     
  • Greg Collier 9:05 am on June 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: age-verification, , , , , , Washington   

    Judge should uphold state law to require age-verification for adults ads; Other states should follow. 

    There aren’t many business owners who might cheer for more government regulation, but I can’t help but applaud legislators in Washington state for standing up to protect their young citizens from falling into a world of human slavery and prostitution.

    The new state law, which was set to take effect last week, allows classified advertising to be criminally prosecuted for publishing sex-related ads peddling children, unless they can prove a good-faith attempt to verify the age of the advertised person. Days before it was set to take effect, Backpage filed suit against the state over the law and won a 14-day restraining order, pending a judge’s decision.

    I continue to be just appalled by the reasoning that Backpage applies when it defends its actions publicly – and I certainly hope that the judge in Washington sees past Backpage’s morally-questionable arguments about being a friend to law enforcement or human rights organizations that are working to help victims avoid the traps of human slavery.

    Also see: CNN: A lurid journey through Backpage.com

    The company argues its site is not a haven for prostitution but instead one that provides a marketplace for a legal sexual encounters between consenting adults. That may be true – just as neighborhood bars provide a place for adults of legal drinking age to drink liquor. But the owners of those bars are required to check the identification of the people who enter their businesses, especially if they have reason to believe that the customer is under the legal age. If they fail to do so, they can be criminally prosecuted – as it should be.

    The argument is the same for classifieds, whether online or a community-based publication. Backpage should be required to either check IDs or shut down that portion of its site. Otherwise, someone should go to jail the first time a child is advertised for sexual favors.

    Backpage makes a lot of money – tens of millions of dollars – through the sex ads on its site and is certainly not afraid to spend some of that money on a gang of lawyers that will argue jurisdiction and First Amendment and attack the law itself for being unconstitutional or vague. The lawyers have already issued a reminder to the judge that, just because a law has a laudable goal doesn’t make it valid.

    While I have continued to be dismayed at other judicial decisions I’ve seen in my time, I have to believe that the judge in Washington will see past the hot air that Backpage has been blowing and uphold the state’s law. The states have an obligation to protect their citizens, especially those too young to protect themselves.

    We have rules about the types of businesses that can – or cannot – be established within certain distances from schools. We have labor laws that are designed to protect children from excessive work and there are social agencies that remove children from their homes when neglect or abuse are suspected.

    And yet a company that publishes sex-ads can’t be held responsible for accepting an advertisement that clearly offers children for sale for sex?

    It’s hard to imagine that there isn’t already a law.

    Earlier Posts:
    Backpage.com can’t pretend to fight a war that it keeps alive
    Keeping the Fight Alive against Online Sex Ads

     
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