Backpage Prostitution Continues, Feds say

Even though federal authorities have long since raided and shuttered the world’s largest online prostitution syndicate run by Tony Ortega’s former bosses, new reporting suggests is still a marketplace for prostitution in places like metro Atlanta, according to a Channel 2 Action News investigation earlier this week.

Way back when prostitution first migrated from streets to smart phones, both Craigslist and Backpage were under pressure to stop online adult advertising, this new bombshell report explains. Craigslist stopped in 2010. Backpage refused to pull its escort page until forced to this January by the FBI.

However, undercover vice detectives say that didn’t stop the problem of prostitution as the ads only moved to a new part of the website, vice commander Lt. Curtis Williams told reporters.

“It’s under the dating site at this point,” Williams said.

In fact, since January police in Atlanta arrested 16 people over three days and at least one woman involved with told Channel 2 she was both beaten and raped by men she connected with this newest scheme by Backpage to transfer their prostitution platform to its new so-called “dating site”.

For its part Backpage continues to maintain it is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” And men like Tony Ortega refuse to distance themselves, or indeed, recant a single word published in support of what the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations called, its “knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking”.

The subcommittee would know what Backpage is up to better than anyone, having spent months looking through the millions of pages of raided documents concerning Backpage’s shady business practices.

We here will continue to watch this story closely, keeping (as always) an eye on Tony Ortega’s Twitter page to see if he dares to open his big mouth to once more defend the guilty parties behind Backpage or to further antagonize the victims.

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