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The discovery could be a turning point in the years-long campaign by anti-human trafficking groups, and Congress, to persuade Backpage to stop hosting prostitution ads, which many teenage girls have claimed were used to sell them for sexual exploitation. So I hope this opens the floodgates of liability for Backpage.
Lawsuits and criminal prosecutions of Backpage in the United States have nearly all failed because Backpage cites in its defense the federal Communications Decency Act, which grants immunity to websites that merely host or screen content posted by others. Nobody deserves it more.” [shuts down adult services ads after relentless pressure from authorities] The Post provided parts of the seized data to Backpage general counsel Liz Mc Dougall for her review. Backpage has frequently noted that it cooperates with and has been thanked by numerous law enforcement agencies for providing investigators with connections to pimps and other criminals.
“I’m in a situation where I’m being pimped,” Desiree wrote on Facebook days before her death.
“He won’t let me leave.” Hazley was charged in federal court with sex trafficking of a minor.
An investigation by a Senate subcommittee revealed earlier this year found that Backpage was editing ads to remove language indicating underage girls were available, rather than removing the ads. Mc Dougall has said that Backpage acts as “the sheriff of the Internet” and that sex ads would be dispersed among sites in other countries if Backpage stopped posting them.
And among eight civil suits filed against Backpage this year is a wrongful-death action in Chicago by the mother of 16-year-old Desiree Robinson, who was slain in December after repeatedly being sold for sex on Backpage.
[How a 16-year-old went from Backpage to prostitution to homicide victim] “This is the commercialization of this crime against children,” said Yiota Souras, the center’s general counsel.
“And it’s what businesses do — they grow internationally; they have marketing plans to beat the competition and offer incentives to get more clients; they seek legal protections for their business interests.
“Every single day, we’re learning something new,” said Yvonne Ambrose, Desiree’s mother.
“Not just what’s going on with Desiree, but what’s happening with Backpage, what they’re doing on this site.
Workers in the Philippine call center scoured the Internet for newly listed sex ads, then contacted the people who posted them and offered a free ad on Backpage.com, the documents show.