The Human Trafficking Institute recently filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court against Backpage.com. (Click here to read the Supreme Court brief.) The case involves three minor sex trafficking victims in Massachusetts whose traffickers sold on Backpage.com. As former federal human trafficking prosecutors, the Institute was asked to speak into the unique legal issues in this case.
Backpage earns over $22 million each year by tailoring its online business to profit from the criminal conduct of sex traffickers. A disappointing decision in the First Circuit Federal Court of Appeals found that Backpage.com was immune from the victims’ lawsuit.
The Human Trafficking Institute filed its brief in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up this case and overturn the ruling. If the U.S. Supreme Court allows the decision to stand, it could serve as an invitation for other online businesses to financially benefit from traffickers forcing people to prostitute. Stopping Backpage.com will not stop all sex trafficking, but it will hold businesses accountable that knowingly profit from criminal activity.