Washington Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Victims, Against Backpage

Recently, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three young women who sued Backpage.com after they were sex trafficked as minors on the website. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) praises this decision, which allows the lawsuit to proceed to trial.

After the lawsuit was originally filed, Backpage filed a motion to dismiss it, arguing it isn’t responsible for the actions of subscribers or users under the federal Communications Decent Act. However, the Washington Supreme Court justices said that this act does not shield Backpage from state lawsuits because there are allegations that the company did not merely host the ads but that they also helped develop the content.

This decision marks an important step forward in the growing movement to hold Backpage accountable for its willful facilitation of human trafficking and prostitution. The Washington Supreme Court’s decision is a wake-up call to Backpage that it must stop promoting and profiting from sexual exploitation.

Backpage is the leading U.S. website for prostitution advertising, generating nearly 80% of all the online prostitution advertising revenue. For these reasons, the website is on NCOSE’s Dirty Dozen list.

To learn more, visit: DirtyDozenList.com.

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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