NCOSE Praises Court Decision to Support Critic of

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

 Washington, DC – Monday, U.S. District Court Judge, John Tharp, Jr. in Illinois, denied’s request for a preliminary injunction against Sheriff Tom Dart. Sheriff Dart was targeted by Backpage after he requested that credit card companies, MasterCard and Visa, cut ties with the website which is known for advertising victims of prostitution and sex trafficking. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) praises this recent decision, and Judge Tharp’s recognition of the fact that Backpage is hosting advertisements that clearly solicit payments for sex.

“I want to publicly thank Judge Tharp for his decision to uphold Sheriff Dart’s rights to continue advocating against Backpage’s promotion of sex trafficking and prostitution,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE. “Backpage is the leading website in America for prostitution advertising, generating nearly 80% of all the online prostitution advertising revenue. Victims of sex trafficking are regularly bought and sold on this website, which is essentially the equivalent of a modern slave auction. Sheriff Dart has demonstrated commendable leadership in the movement to end Backpage’s business model of sexual exploitation.” officials originally accused Dart of infringing on the website’s free speech rights by calling on credit card companies to sever ties with the website.

Backpage is listed on NCOSE’s Dirty Dozen list, a list of top mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation. To learn more, visit:

If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Haley Halverson at (202) 393-7245 or [email protected]

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.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.