Backpage: Incessant Acts of Brutality

We’ve spent a good deal of time looking at the history of the government’s case against Backpage. It’s been something of tsunami of information as seen from from our 10,000 foot view of the sordid story of the rise and fall of Backpage. Today we dive back into the gritty details left in its horrific aftermath.

We’ve seen how the government plans on prosecuting its case against Larkin and Lacey. One of the key elements in the State’s argument against the two human traffickers will be the stories of the victims.

This week we received late breaking news about a man from Glendale, NY who admitted to forcing his own teenage niece into prostitution and endangering the welfare of another 15-year-old runaway using Backpage in the final months before authorities could bring the sex trafficking platform down.

Eddy Florence, 34, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and endangering the welfare of a child late last month. He is now due to return to court on Aug. 1, where a judge stated that Florence will be sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison. It’s yet another indicator of the zero tolerance stance courts are taking with regards to all things Backpage.

Said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan in his damning appraisal of the latest Backpage pimp called to account: “The defendant has now admitted to forcing a teenage girl into having sex with men for cash…Sex trafficking is an incessant act of brutality and degradation that scars its victims for life. The defendant now faces a lengthy term of incarceration for his actions.”

Charges say that in 2017, Florence approached his 13-year-old niece and asked her to work for him as a Backpage prostitute out of his own Glendale home. Sickeningly, in the weeks that followed, Florence recruited a 15-year-old girl, who prosecutors say was forced into performing sexual acts on customers at a Staten Island hotel all the way through December that year.

According to the District Attorney’s office, in pleading guilty Florence admitted to placing prostitution advertisements on various escort service websites, including Backpage.com, for both teenage victims. For several weeks, Florence forced the 13-year-old into having sex with strangers for money and demanded that all the proceeds from the prostitution be given to him.

On more than one occasion, when the 13-year-old did not make enough money, Florence would yell violently and threaten her.

During a police search warrant of his home on Dec. 13, 2017, Florence was found in bed with his niece and uncovered drugs, a credit card embossing machine and Florence’s cell phone, which was registered as the phone number on the prostitution ads. He was arrested that same night.

Soon the men who made this possible from the kingpins at the top, to the shameless flunkies at the bottom (Tony Ortega, anyone?) might hear similar midnight knocks at their doors. And when they do, you’ll read about it here, first.

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