Backpage Pimps Faces Life For Selling Minors As Sex Slaves

Terry Johnson III

For the briefest of moments Tony Ortega had the attention of the nation. It came in the midst of a flurry of allegations that his employers at Backpage knowingly turned a blind eye to the epidemic of child sex trafficking that was taking place on the online platform built for unscrupulous pimps to sell marginalized women for sex.

Tony Ortega used this spotlight, not to decry the injustice of coerced prostitution of the vulnerable but to attack the growing number justifiably outraged men, women, institutions and authorities who dared to call Backpage what it was — the largest illegal sex ring the world had ever seen, trading the lives of young women and underage girls to make a fast buck.

Ortega used his soapbox to loudly proclaim that all talk of an ‘epidemic of Backpage child sex slavery’ was nothing more than an exercise in mass hysteria. He was lying. And he knew he was lying.

Now the flood of guilty pleas and convictions we are seeing recently put the truth to Tony Ortega’s shameless lies.

Today a second of two men in Michigan accused of sex trafficking minors via Backpage has pleaded guilty to all charges against him in federal court.

Terry Johnson III, 38, on July 10 appeared before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris in the federal courthouse in downtown Bay City and pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of children. His conviction comes with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

In pleading, Johnson admitted that from about June 30, 2016, through July 2 of the same year, he transported and maintained a 15-year-old girl and caused her to engage in commercial sex acts. The girl had been advertised on Backpage.com to solicit individuals to engage in sex with her for money.

Johnson also admitted that from about Aug. 11, 2016, through Sept. 9, he transported a second underage girl across state lines with the intent to engage her in the Backpage child sex trafficking scheme.

Johnson’s codefendant, 25-year-old Javontea A. Banks, in May pleaded guilty to the same charge. When he pleaded, Banks admitted to providing “security and protection” to a minor while she was being trafficked and that he took a portion of her proceeds for his own for his ‘services’.

U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington will issue the sentence on Banks at 4 p.m. on August 29 and Johnson at 2:30 p.m. on October 17.

We here at the blog have always stood on the side of seeing these Backpage criminals receive the absolute maximum sentencing possible for the parts they played destroying the lives of so many young women and underage girls.

We will continue to shine a light on these stories of these small time pimps being brought to justice in the hopes that a critical mass of righteous outrage will convince prosecutors to throw the book at the men like Michael Lacey, Carl Ferrer and James Larkin who created this monster, and the bought-and-paid-for liars like Tony Ortega who worked to normalize their unconscionable evil.

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