Two young women are suing Backpage.com after they became the victims of sex trafficking. Their Massachusetts lawsuit, filed in Boston is accusing the company of setting up a business model that enabled child sex trafficking in the U.S. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe Backpage.com as a website that carries advertisements for illegal commercial sex.
One of the plaintiffs says that sold for over 1,000 times in 18 months when she was 15 and 16 in ’12 and ’13. The other girl says she was trafficked as a teen between ’12 and ’13. The two girls were purportedly trafficked in separate “stables” of girls who were moved to different cities, including Boston, other Massachusetts cities, and Rhode Island.
The plaintiffs claim that Backpage.com and parent company Camarillo Holdings LLC violated the Massachusetts Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2010 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008. They also are accusing the defendants of succeeding in purposely becoming a lead player in the online sex trade and making misrepresentations to non-profits and law enforcement to make it appear as if the website was trying to get rid of the child sex traffic ads when that wasn’t the case.
The Boston injury lawsuit is not the only litigation seeking damages from Backpage.com for child sex trafficking. The Washington Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case filed by three plaintiffs. The three young women’s’ lawyers said the victims were sold as prostitutes in ads on the web site. The plaintiffs claim they were raped on numerous occasions after pimps forced them to sell themselves for sex.
Backpage.com is arguing that both lawsuits are attempts at censorship. It claims that the Communications Decency Act grants it immunity. An attorney for the company noted that it was not Backpage.com that created the sex crime ads.
If you or someone you love was injured in a sex crime you should speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer right away. Sex trafficking is illegal and a crime. Often, young minors are forced into prostituting themselves.
There may be more than one party that should be held liable for your injuries. In addition to the person that directly caused you harm, there may be individual or entities that allowed you to get hurt rather than protecting you by preventing or stopping the incident.
Alleged child sex trafficking victims suing Backpage.com, Boston.com, October 17, 2014
Backpage.com ask high court to throw out lawsuit, The Washington Post, October 21, 2014
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