The Normalization of Underage Prostitution

By the time the Feds shutdown Tony Ortega’s former employers’s Backpage.com, it was largest source of online human sex trafficking in the United States.This chilling fact, seemingly the one subject upon which Tony Ortega is conspicuously silent, is not disputed.

That Backpage conspirators generated $135 million in revenue, the vast majority of which was generated from illegal ads for sex on the Backpage, is not disputed.

The facts above are not merely coincidental. To the contrary, Backpage became the largest source of online human sex trafficking in the United States because it intentionally set out to create and maintain an online marketplace for sex trafficking. They knowingly developed a reputation as a website where sex traffickers and prostitutes could advertise commercial sex and where commercial sex customers would know to find it.

Through the development, marketing, and operation of the escortsection of their website, they intentionally created a context where each individual post on its escort website could be readily ascertained as an advertisement for prostitution.

In a post-MeToo era this is what is referred to as normalizing,wherein sex traffickers who post sex ads on the Backpage could review other sex ads on the website and then try to emulate with their own ads what is normal.

Over the years Tony Ortega has engaged in many sinister acts. From inventing fake ‘sources’ to support his so-called ‘journalism’ to outright fabrication of facts, but conspiring with sex traffickers and prostitutes to advertise women and children for sale on the Backpage website, might wind up being his darkest legacy.

We believe strongly the flood of lawsuits currently being litigated, to say nothing of the many yet to potentially be filed, will show Tony Ortega to be the man many of us understood him to be from the beginning — one whose entire checkered career has been filled with normalizing criminal behavior.

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