August 27, 2015

NCOSE Praises Court Decision to Support Critic of Backpage.com

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE


 Washington, DC – Monday, U.S. District Court Judge, John Tharp, Jr. in Illinois, denied Backpage.com’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.”

Backpage.com 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: DirtyDozenList.com

If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Haley Halverson at (202) 393-7245 or haley@ncose.com.

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