Backpage: Pimping Underage Pimps

According to experts, it’s important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims — often vulnerable, underage girls — with involuntary sex work.

We’ve seen an awful lot of examples over the past few months of exactly how the proprietors of Backpage (together with its small army of sock puppets like Tony Ortega) helped maintain a platform explicitly designed to make profit off both prostitution and sex trafficking, caring very little about the nuanced difference in legality.

Earlier this week we suggested there were clear parallels between the dirty, high-level business pimps who ran Backpage and the low level pimps who ran their dirty business through Backpage. Today we find yet another example of this telling overlap in the latest addition to the ever-growing list of pimps being brought down after Backpage’s collapse.

According to a court document unsealed Friday in Kansas, a Wichita man charged with sex trafficking was paying a teenage girl to find girls he could pay for sex — and he wanted to make sure they were young. Underage, in fact.

The teenage girl, who is not named in the court documents, recruited her “homegirls” into human trafficking and kept a portion of their earnings for herself, just like the fat cats who ran Backpage. Unlike Lacey, Larkin and their lackey Tony Ortega, however, court records show this girl was born in 2002.

The underage girl’s pimp, Long Van, himself a 38-year-old registered sex offender, was arrested two months ago. He was already on probation for a 2017 child sex crime.

The newest charges accuse Van of sex trafficking a 15-year-old, “knowing that the child, with or without force, fraud, threat or coercion, will be used to engage in sexual gratification of the defendant or another, involving the exchange of anything of value,” court documents say.

Van was arrested after Wichita police went through the teen-aged girl’s phone. She had been advertising on one of the many online escort sites which sprung up using the Backpage model.

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