Backpage Fallout Continues to Fester

This week we’ve been looking at the enduring legacy of destruction in the wake of the only underage sex peddling platform personally endorsed by Tony Ortega.

We saw how the murder in Atlanta ties directly back to Backpage’s thinly veiled revamp of its prostitution platform, rebranded now as ‘adult dating’. But the problem continues to spread across state lines.

As criminals benefit from technology in communication, wide distribution and anonymity, law enforcement agencies find themselves using the same platforms to stop those illegal revenues and gather evidence. 

Backpage.com was involved in nearly three-quarters of child-trafficking reports received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, the center responded to 10,000 reports of possible trafficking. When Backpage went dark, so too did access to countless posts that police used to identify and find victims. 

When asked why this this was the case Detective Joshua Rowley of the Delaware State police said simply:

Detective Rowley added it was impossible to ‘morally justify a company like Backpage’ because that such a platform should exist “flies in the face of reason”.

Indeed, by the time the website’s adult classified page was seized, Backpage had become for state and federal authorities practically a handbook for finding sex underage women who had been forced into a life of selling sex for money by unscrupulous operators. And by the men who Tony Ortega loudly defends for their smarts at discovering a way to turn the world’s oldest profession into one of personal profit through its repeated lies.

The simple fact of the matter is that Backpage engaged in deceptive practices in an attempt to elude law enforcement and protect traffickers and its closure has rightly been lauded by prosecutors and sexual assault advocates but the problems this site created continue to fester.

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