How One University Study Unmasked The Backpage Child Sex Ring

Tony Ortega

In our last post we saw how despite Backpage’s official denials, and Tony Ortega’s seemingly endless stream of mind-numbing propagandistic lies, public perception was beginning to change regarding the legitimacy and lawfulness of Backpage’s business practices. The truth about their human sex trafficking/prostitution ring was beginning to spread.

At first they attempted to mislead the public by saying they were merely providing a platform for interested singles to meet. When that lie was exposed and the reality that their business model was built upon selling ad space to pimps to sell women for sex they attempted to argue what they were doing was still legal because, after all, these were consenting adults making their own decisions.

In fact, readers of this blog may remember Tony Ortega advancing the wholly disingenuous argument that Backpage’s sex for cash scheme was a classic case of First Amendment Rights, and by enabling pimps and sex traffickers Backpage was actually doing nothing more than fighting the good fight for the Constitution. What a load that was!

Throughout it all Backpage et al continued to deny that underage minors were involved in anyway. (Remember how Tony Ortega himself vouched for what a great job their moderators were doing weeding out ‘criminal’ activity on the Backpage website!?)

Sometime in or around November 2012, however, all that changed. The lie they had long maintained — namely, that Backpage was exclusively being used by consenting adults — was exposed by experts in the field of child sex trafficking. And the world was watching.

It was that November in 2012 when a researcher at Arizona State University published a study concluding that most of the ads on Backpage’s Phoenix page involved prostitution and that many of the ads depicted juvenile trafficking victims.

Michael Lacey

Surely this peer-reviewed academic study was enough to alert Backpage and its band of co-conspirators that something illegal might be going on, right? One would think a group so dedicated to the freedoms granted by the Constitution of the United States would take seriously any charge that their own business was engaged in actively infringing on the rights and freedoms of underage Americans and that they would take immediate steps to address the issue.

On December 19, 2012, Michael Lacey was forwarded a copy of the Arizona State University study’s results. The researcher responsible for the study also met with a Backpage representative to propose various mechanisms for reducing or eliminating the prostitution of children on the website.

But of course, these are Tony Ortega’s bosses we are talking about here and what they did next was exactly in line with what unethical operators like Tony Ortega and his pals always do when confronted with their crimes — they played the victim card and, declining to adopt any of these proposals, they claimed they were the unfair targets of a political witch hunt.

Would we expect anything else from Tony Ortega’s pals? After all, it’s the same game Tony Ortega has been playing his whole disgraceful career.

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