Maximum Sentencing

This past week we helped break the story of what we hope will become a new trend in sentencing Backpage-related crimes: maximum sentencing.

Today, we received word of another encouraging development after it was announced Wednesday that prosecutors will be seeking life terms for two men in Fort Worth who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit sex trafficking through force, fraud or coercion using Backpage.com as the platform for their criminality.

According to the  U.S. attorney’s office of the Northern District of Texas, the two men face the prospect of life in prison after  pleading guilty this month to trafficking charges in connection with a human sex-trafficking ring which was run directly out of the Backpage.

Prosecutors demonstrated that the the men knowingly and willfully conspired to advertise their victims for sex on Backpage.com, a  Dallas-based website  that was shut down in early 2018 for allowing ads for  “illicit commercial sex,” as then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the time federal agents shuttered the site.

Trafficking — people selling other people — is a particularly vile crime. It preys upon the weak and the vulnerable through violence and threats of violence. Usually trafficking crimes remain localized, involving a limited number of pimps and victims.

Backpage changed all of that.

By attempting to mass-market sex trafficking through the Village Voice newspaper, they built up the largest child sex trafficking ring the world has ever known. And Village Voice Editor-At-Large Tony Ortega couldn’t have been prouder of the men who dreamt up the idea.

We remain as convinced as ever that maximum sentencing is befitting all those who participated in the Backpage child sex ring, from the lowliest back alley pimps to the most obsequious, con-men Editors-At-Large.

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