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Some investigators and advocacy groups concerned about human sexual trafficking suggest working with the website would be a better way to target abusive ringleaders and protect underage girls and immigrants tricked or forced into prostitution. Every half-an-hour, Abigail uses her smartphone to upload photos of her scantily clad self, promising pleasure with a beautiful blonde.
The shuffling on Backpage is being watched closely in Miami-Dade, where prosecutors have been aggressive about going after pimps and traffickers, while trying to provide rehabilitation services to girls who have been coerced into selling their bodies.
Just over half of adult victims in recent Miami-Dade cases, and 40 percent of minor victims, were advertised on Backpage. Earlier this month, on the heels of a U. Senate report that blasted the site for facilitating criminal activity, Backpage shut down the adult content portion of its website. Classified websites such as Backpage and Craigslist, which allow users to hawk everything from real estate to used cars, have long been targeted by police for facilitating the sex trade.
Last fall, prosecutors accused a Miami preacher of trafficking young boys through Craigslist, as well as Backpage; he is awaiting trial. But Dallas-based Backpage, founded in as an off-shoot of classified sections for alternative weekly newspapers, remains one of the most popular websites for hooking up prostitutes with johns, according to law enforcement. In Miami-Dade, posts on the website have resulted in many high-profile human trafficking cases.
In recent years, those charged include a local Spanish-language singer , a man who forced a runaway teen to tattoo his street name on her eyelids and a businessman who lured girls from Kazakhstan with the false promise of working at a yoga studio.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 73 percent of all its child trafficking report stem from Backpage. In Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Thomas Dart waged a public campaign against Backpage in , posting a letter to credit-card companies asking they stop accepting financial transactions from the site. Visa, Mastercard and American Express all voluntarily stopped accepting business from Backpage.
The website sued, arguing Dart was infringing on its right to free speech — and won. A federal appeals court upheld the ruling ordering Dart to stop publicly pressing the issue. Supreme Court in December refused to take up the issue. In December, California filed new charges against the men, this time charging them with money laundering. The trial is still pending. The best we can do is facilitate the capabilities of police to investigate.
At least until recently, Backpage was generally fast to respond to government subpoenas and request for customer information, even the credit-card info used by those posting to the adult section, according to Florida police agencies. Subpoenas revealed that someone posted the ads for the girl using a pre-paid Visa card. You will be played by the ad posted online.
If you think that these are real genuine ads on these websites then you are crazy. No sane person with any experience on the internet just looking for a good time would write what is written in some of these ads. So you will find yourself in the middle of a sticky situation most likely resulting in a financial transaction coerced by threats. Say you do find yourself in that situation with a girl who is clamoring for money.
Say you decide to walk away from the situation. In addition, on your way out of the apartment you run into a man. He gets in your face about leaving the situation you were just in.
Now you are in a very dangerous situation. Most of the girls on Backpage and Craiglist work for pimps. And if a pimp is involved, then you had better believe he has his eye on her.
Dealing with a girl who wants money for her company is one thing, but when you find yourself face to face with her pimp, you know you are in murky water. Many of the stories you will hear about Craigslist or Backpage involve a girl and her pimp robbing solicitors when they attempt to walk away from the transaction. That is a very dangerous position to put yourself in. Stop yourself before you even get curious.
These sites are not for dating, and they are not for hooking up. These sites can be tragic. Trafficking is a massive problem across the globe.
And thousands of young American girls with nothing are exploited commercially for sex. These girls are plucked from the streets at the age of 13 on average. They grow up in that world not knowing anything else. These sites are a part of the problem. The internet has increased the problem by increasing the demand. People troll the internet looking for sex now.
And the people who profit from selling sex use it to their advantage. There are more girls at risk than ever before due to this demand. Do you really want to be a part of the problem too?
It is bad enough to do nothing while this happens every day. How could you live knowing you contributed to the problem?