Ortega’s ‘Backpage Defense’ Gets The Boot As Sex Trafficking Businesses See Eviction Rates Soar

Back at the end of October we raised the then controversial proposition that landlords should begin using their positions to deny rental privileges to those who engage in or promote human trafficking. 

At that time we even, somewhat jokingly, suggested in our piece that this might be a compelling argument for  Tony’s wife to consider, seeing as her deadbeat husband Tony Ortega was guilty of being a unrepentant spokesman for the underage sex trafficking factory — Backpage.

Now it’s three months later, and no one is laughing at this notion any more.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who began the movement known as the Hope Initiative last fall, set out to target individuals and businesses who conduct business with known or suspected sex traffickers. Now in his state ten more illicit massage businesses — notorious hotbeds of human sex trafficking — have been evicted, or are in the process of being evicted, through his program.

 In a press release from his office the Attorney General explicitly referenced Backpage by name as the sort of human trafficking advertisers the crackdown would be focusing its attention upon.

The official release read in part:

“Since then, my office has been working diligently to continue their outreach to landlords to evict illicit massage businesses and identify additional illicit businesses…With this initiative, we want to [become] the most inhospitable state in the country to those who seek to operate illicit massage businesses or engage in human trafficking.”

The office sent out letters to 77 landlords across the state, informing them of their tenant’s possible illegal activity, the release went on to say. Of the landlords contacted, Schmitt’s office has heard back from 71% of them, an increase from 53% in October.

The trend this meteoric rise signals cannot come as welcome news for Tony Ortega and his pimp pals.

What started as a seemingly far-fetched idea is growing into a movement to chase out the people putting into practice the same pro-child sex trafficking rhetoric Tony Ortega popularized while defending his Backpage overlords.

We would join our voices to the call for similar programs across even more states and urge landlords who believe their tenants may be engaging in illicit activity while maintaining the appearance of being a legitimate business are urged to report those tenants.

Still, we here at the blog can’t help but ask: with programs like this in place during Tony Ortega’s days as the number one public proponent of the Backpage pimps, how many more children might have been saved from the ravages of his lies?

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