Pimps and Perverts

The Internet has long been a marketplace for the sex trade, one where the now mercifully defunct website, Backpage was justly demonized as a hotbed for illegal activity, including child sex trafficking.

We’ve seen time and again how Tony Ortega and his pals defended Backpage, at times even picking very public fights bemoaning that their “constitutional rights” to sell women weren’t being respected.

We’ve also looked at the new crop of human trafficking sights which were seemingly inspired by Tony Ortega’s vile rhetoric surrounding the selling of children for sex for profit.

Recently, however, a new horrific platform is emerging. One which even Tony Ortega would choke to speak up for. They are called ‘hobby review boards’.

On review boards for commercial sex, for example, buyers  denigrate the women they rate and spin fantasies about sex acts. They use forums on the sites to warn one another about anti-trafficking busts and to answer each other’s questions about the “hobby.”

“We now live in an age of ‘Yelp’ for sex,” said Lt. Christopher Sharpe, who leads the New York City Police Department’s citywide human trafficking case team.

Rarely do these men wonder aloud about whether the woman or girl they’re reviewing is a consensual sex worker or coerced, despite evidence that many of the providers are victims of sex trafficking. Nor do they seem to consider the humanity of the other person, who is often boiled down to her physical attributes and objectified.

As we’ve witnessed, 2018 was a winning year for campaigners against child sex trafficking after Backpage was seized by the government for facilitating the full spectrum of sex trafficking. Indeed, that same year Craigslist shut down its personals section when Congress passed a new law that could hold websites responsible for hosting illegal activities, including sex trafficking.

However, since the cesspool of sex-for-sale, Backpage, was shuttered, hobby boards have emerged as a ‘harder-to-stop’ hub for buyers, and in turn, for trafficking.

As  Rob Spectre, an anti-trafficking expert and founder and CEO of  childsafe.ai, a software startup that combats human trafficking, explains: “This is where the entire demand is going to shift. There’s never going to be another Backpage. It’s never gonna look like that. It’s gonna look like this.”

It would seem we have yet another charge to lay against propagandists like Tony Ortega and the syndicate crime family who founded Backpage which he worked to protect. Not only are they responsible for the pimps they gave a platform to, but, in a very real sense, they paved the way for the victimization of countless future women and girls through every Backpage wannabe “hobby board” to come.

This is the legacy of Backpage. And it’s why on the growing list of sex trafficking criminals, Tony Ortega ought always be remembered as one of the loudest voices defending the rights of pimps and perverts to use and abuse women.

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