Backpage Co-conspirators Beware: The Lawsuits Are Coming

We’ve long known that law enforcement takes a very dim view of those who give aid and assistance to known sex traffickers. Increasingly, the legal system is demonstrating a similar view, by allowing more and more cases to proceed against those who partnered with Backpage to exploit underage children and vulnerable women.

We’ve seen isolated cases cropping up against Backpage from individual victims seeking justice for the abuse and sexual violence they endured during that company’s time as the world’s largest online brothel. While each case is important and relevant in its own way, recently we received news about a new ground-breaking case that has to make Backpage’s co-conspirators very nervous. (Looking at you, here, Tony Ortega!)

Last week news broke that fifty new women have agreed to collectively sue Salesforce, alleging the company profited by helping Backpage to engage in sex trafficking.

Take a moment to process that: fifty victims proceeding with a case aimed at those who worked with Backpage to help it profit from the illegal sex trade. If that’s not the kind of news that ought to keep Tony Ortega awake at night, we don’t know what is!

The women, referred to only as ‘anonymous Jane Does’, identify themselves as survivors of sex trafficking, rape and abuse — facilitated through Backpage and its partners. The lawsuit, which was filed last Monday in Superior Court in San Francisco, paints a dark picture of Salesforce, which has long given empty lip service to human rights and the greater good. (Looks like all that went out the window the moment they joined forces with the Backpage scumbags.)

Among other things, the lawsuit explicitly claims:

In public, including on Twitter, Salesforce boasted about fighting human trafficking using its data tools. But behind closed doors, Salesforce’s data tools were actually providing the backbone of Backpage’s exponential growth. Salesforce didn’t just provide Backpage with a customer-ready version of its data and marketing tools. Salesforce designed and implemented a heavily customized enterprise database tailored for Backpage’s operations, both locally and internationally. With Salesforce’s guidance, Backpage was able to use Salesforce’s tools to market to new “users” — that is, pimps, johns, and traffickers — on three continents.

For those of you keeping score at home — this is precisely what Tony Ortega argued that Backpage was emphatically not doing. Of course Tony Ortega was lying when he said that. And we’re all about to see that lie unravel.

Indeed, this case could well be a bellwether for what comes next as it stands to prove in court once and for all that Tony Ortega lied and misled the public with respect to Backpage.

It may also set a new precedent, opening up possibilities that those who helped Backpage maintain its carefully crafted cover could soon find themselves called to account before a federal judge.

And we know just the guy we most want to see before a truth-seeking tribunal, Tony Ortega.

::For further reading, the text of the full lawsuit may be found here::

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