Latest Backpage Case Signals Litigation Sea Change

Tony Ortega

We first brought you the story about the explosive rise in one state’s sex trafficking charges as Backpage was at the height of its vile powers. Today we continue our examination of Florida, in light of the recent headlines in which a young woman of 19 was kidnapped and forced into a life of Backpage prostitution in Boynton Beach.

Stalwart defender of Backpage’s heinous practices, Tony Ortega, once bragged about his bosses when he said, “The people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com”. For while they did manage to ‘game’ the system, relying on loopholes in the law and hiding behind broadly interpreted ‘First Amendment Rights’.

But change is in the air.

As we have been seeing these flimsy defenses are hardly standing up under the mountain of legal scrutiny being brought to bear upon at the urging of numerous anti-trafficking organizations.

Anti-trafficking organizations began by targeting the biggest tool the Boynton Beach suspects used. This month, an unnamed Florida woman who says she was the victim of trafficking through Backpage and an anti-human trafficking organization filed a lawsuit in federal court in Orlando against the owners of Backpage.com.

This is a necessary and most welcomed next step. Private citizens suing those who propped up and made possible the monstrous Backpage business model.

As Carol Robles-Roman, the president and CEO of Legal Momentum, a New York-based women’s rights organization that helped prepare the lawsuit said in a statement to the press:

“The online exploitation of teen girls is the biggest human rights violation of our time… Backpage.com knowingly facilitated this evil and must be held accountable to the harmed girls and to the organizations that provide them services so they can heal and recover.”

Indeed, there is no such thing as a typical victim. They can be young people. They can be older. They can be male. It happens really across the socioeconomic spectrum.

In many cases, calls to the trafficking hotline are made by a community member who observed something out of the ordinary.

The biggest thing we always encourage people to do is just educate themselves about the issue. Don’t buy into the propaganda peddled by Tony Ortega. If you see something that doesn’t look right or feel right, don’t automatically dismiss it as ‘two consenting adults freely exercising their First Amendment rights’ as Tony Ortega would have you believe. Call the hotline and help bring these criminals to justice.

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