Sues Sheriff Instead of Protecting Trafficking Victims

Now, more than ever, it is necessary to support companies that are making the right choice to reject contributing to sexual exploitation.

That is the choice that several major credit card companies – American Express, MasterCard, and Visa – have made, by cutting ties with over their “adult” services page.

Backpage is well known for hosting hundreds of online ads for prostituted women, many of which law enforcement have found to be victims of sex trafficking. Backpage has unrepentantly profited from exploitation and trafficking on its website. This is why the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has placed it on the annual Dirty Dozen List, which names the top twelve companies contributing to sexual exploitation in America.

Now that several credit cards have abandoned it, Backpage is fighting back.

Tuesday, filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart, for his simple request to major credit card companies that they not allow prostitution ads to be purchased on the website using their cards. It was after this request that MasterCard and Visa severed ties with Backpage.

“Rather than reevaluating the practices that make major credit card companies uncomfortable doing business with them, Backpage continues to prioritize their own profits over the safety of the men, women, and sometimes children, whose sale they facilitate online,” says Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director at NCSE.

As Backpage begins to attack those who are taking a stand against it, it’s vitally important that public support is shown to be on the side of those opposing sexual exploitation. 

Now is the time to tell to change their business model of exploitation.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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