October 3, 2017

Three Survivors Reach Settlement with Sex Trafficking Website Backpage.com

We are ecstatic at the news that plaintiffs in J.S., S.L, and L.C., v. Village Voice Media Holdings have reached a settlement with Backpage.com in their sex trafficking lawsuit against the classified sex ads website. While the settlement in no way restores to these survivors what was so savagely taken from them as a result of the sexual exploitation Backpage facilitated, we hope the settlement will aid them and their families as they seek to rebuild their lives.

We are elated for these three victims. This day has been far too long in coming.

While we celebrate this wonderful news, we cannot help but be saddened that this outcome has been denied to other victims from across the country whose sex trafficking was also facilitated via Backpage. Due to an unfortunate series of cases in which the courts have again and again found in favor of this nefarious website, these three survivors represent the only victims in the country that have at last found some semblance of justice. For other victims from across the country also sexually trafficked via Backpage, the courts have ruled that the Communications Decency Act grants the website immunity.

This case is the exception to the rule. The barriers to holding Internet business with models built on facilitating sex trafficking remain too high.” Thompson added, “For this reason, we are standing with the bipartisan efforts to amend the Communications Decency Act throughH.R. 1865 the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and S. 1693 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA). Amending the Communications Decency Act is essential to ensuring that sex trafficking no longer finds safe haven on the Internet, and that victims receive the justice they all deserve.

Backpage.com is a member of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2017 Dirty Dozen List due to its history of facilitating, and profiting from, sexual exploitation.

For more information concerning the Communications Decency Act see:endsexploitation.org/CDA.

Lisa L. Thompson

Vice President of Research and Education

Lisa L. Thompson serves as the Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, where she oversees NCOSE’s strategic planning for increased public understanding of sexual exploitation related issues. To this end Lisa conducts analysis, develops research initiatives, and liaises with a wide-range of public officials, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher learning, and academics to generate collaborative action to combat the full spectrum of sexual exploitation especially as pertains to the harms of pornography, stripping, prostitution, and sexual trafficking.

Lisa joins the NCOSE following nearly two years with World Hope International (WHI), where as its Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa administered WHI’s anti-trafficking and sexual-violence recovery programs in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While working for WHI Lisa also served as a steering committee member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), a collaboration initiative she helped found, and as a reviewer for the Journal of Human Trafficking.

She has written on the subjects of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation for publications such as Christian History and Biography, Caring, Mutuality, PRISM, and Social Work and Christianity. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global in which she contributed chapters about the use of torture by pimps, as well as the policy conflicts between sex trafficking abolitionists and HIV/AIDS advocates. She is the co-editor of a special anti-trafficking edition of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work journal Social Work & Christianity and has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress. Lisa routinely speaks about sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution, pornography, stripping), and facilitates anti-trafficking training events for a diverse range of audiences.

Additionally, Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters. In that role she pioneered strategies for The Salvation Army to create recovery services for survivors of sexual trafficking and advocated on public policy issues and initiatives related to combating sexual trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Lisa chaired The Salvation Army’s North American Anti-Trafficking Council and directed its Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking. Previous to her arrival at The Salvation Army, Lisa served as Policy Representative for the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, from 1998 to 2001. While there, she was heavily involved in NAE’s advocacy efforts seeking passage of legislation now known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. She has also worked for consulting firms managing Community Develop Block Grants programs in Kentucky, and taught English as a second language in the People’s Republic of China.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Western Kentucky University, and her Master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute and University.

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