Sex for Money: Ortega’s Flimsy Defense


We wrote previously as Editor-At-Large Tony Ortega from 2007 to 2012 oversaw the sleazy Backpage’s posting rulesand content requirements. But Ortega went further by publicly attacking anyone in the press who raised questions about the Backpage’s roll as the country’s leading sex trafficking platform, referring to reports of rising rates of underage prostitution as “bogus information”.

The actual data behind this epidemicis wanting in the extreme,Ortega wrote, following an investigativearticle, paid by revenues directly acquired by Backpage’s advertising sex for money scheme. Ortega went on to claim that people combating child prostitution were fatuous and silly, adding:

The whole point of is that we arent involved after two consenting adults find each other through the community bulletin board, which exists solely so that people can freely express themselves.

Of course what he left unsaid was all this business about the precise practice of “moderation” that went on. Quietly in the background Backpage’s “moderators” were hard at work sanitizing key words (“lolita”,teenage, “rape”,young, little girl, etc.) and manually removing images that indicated the ad was for sex, after which moderatorswould post the remainder of the ad.

There is simply no way Ferrer and Ortega can genuinely deny that their moderatorswere instructed to sanitize these sex ads.

For example, a former moderatoradmitted in his deposition that his job as a moderator for the Backpage was to basically sanitize ads for prostitution.He flatly admitted he sanitized ads by removing terms or images that suggested the ads were for sex for money. He would then post the sanitized ad, even though he knew the ad was placed by a pimp trying to sell sex for money.

Consider this exchange between prosecutors and the former “moderator” in his deposition and ask yourself if Ortega’s characterization of what the Backpage was up to, ‘helping consenting adults to find each other’, passes the smell test:


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