ENDING ONLINE PIMPING AND SEX TRAFFICKING: A CASE AGAINST BACKPAGE.COM

CATW International September 23, 2014 USA Download Attachment



CATW and the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP have successfully submitted an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of a lawsuit against Backpage.com, J.S., S.L., & L.C. v. Village Voice Media Holdings (the amicus curiae is attached above).  The suit was filed by three minor sex trafficking survivors seeking to hold the website accountable for its role in facilitating sex trafficking by creating an online marketplace of “escort” or prostitution ads. All three girls were marketed and sold on Backpage by their pimps. 


The “adult” services section of Backpage.com has become an online red-light district and destination for sex traffickers, pimps,  and buyers of commercial sex.  When Craigslist.org’s “adult” section was shut down in September 2010 as a result of growing public pressure and an open letter to the company’s heads from seventeen Attorneys General pleading for the closing of the section, the same section on Backpage spiked exponentially. The lawsuit against Backpage.com hopes to persuade the Washington State Supreme Court to recognize that through its “adult” services, Backpage knowingly facilitates the buying and selling of countless human beings, mostly women and girls.   

An impressive list of prominent organizations and individuals, including survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, co-signed the amicus brief with CATW. In addition, the following organizations have also submitted their amicus briefs in support of the respondents:


FAIR Girls

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 

The National Crime Victim Law Institute, Shared Hope International, Covenant House, and Human Rights Project for Girls 

The State of Washington, Attorney General Robert Ferguson 


CATW expresses its sincere gratitude to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP for preparing and filing the amicus brief on our behalf.