September 7, 2016

STATEMENT: Backpage.com Appealing to Supreme Court to Protect its Sex Trafficking Business

By Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – Backpage.com, one of the largest mainstream websites for sex trafficking and prostitution advertisements, is appealing to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court ruled that the website must turn over internal files to Congress.

“Also known as ‛Craigslist for criminals,’ Backpage.com is primarily a sex trafficking and prostitution ad website. This isn’t a case about ‘free speech.’ This is a case about human rights versus corporate interests,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Backpage’s business model is built on sexual exploitation, which is why it has been listed on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s Dirty Dozen List, and why 51 state Attorneys General have recognized that many cases of sex trafficking involving children are directly related to the ads posted on Backpage. Backpage earned 82.3% of its revenue  from prostitution ads in the period from June 2012-May 2013 (at least 39 million dollars) and they post around 1 million prostitution ads a day. No wonder they don’t want to put a stop to the buying and selling of men, women, and children on their site!”

“I hope the Supreme Court will refuse to hear Backpage’s case, and that it will empower the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to continue its ongoing investigation into Backpage.com’s role in facilitating sex trafficking,” Hawkins continued. “I expect Backpage may claim it is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects Internet providers from liability for user-generated posts. However, the CDA was originally intended to protect children from obscene Internet material, and Backpage.com is using this loophole to preserve its business of sexually exploitation. Congress never intended this result, and we cannot remain silent in the fact of Backpage’s blatant profiteering from criminal activity. We are asking concerned citizens to send this email to their elected officials, demanding that they help stop sex trafficking online by fixing the law, and recognizing the necessity of prosecuting websites like Backpage.com that facilitate sexual exploitation.”

To learn more about Backpage.com and why it’s on the 2016 Dirty Dozen List visit here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/backpage/

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