New ruling may benefit sex abuse victims
Backpage, an online classified ad business, has a developed a reputation for exploiting sex abuse victims. Several lawsuits allege that Backpage allows and facilitates sex traffickers (pimps) to sell child sex abuse victims in its “adult services” classified ads.
Unfortunately, sex abuse survivors who have become victims of sex trafficking have struggled to hold Backpage accountable. Backpage has relied on a section of the Communications Decency Act to evade civil liability. Sections of the Communications Decency Act shield Internet hosts from accountability for content published by third parties. However, a local Seattle firm has argued convincingly that Backpage does more than simply host content; they also provide instructions to pimps, sex traffickers and others on how to craft content that will allow them to evade the scrutiny of law enforcement. The Washington State Supreme Court agreed and remanded the suit against Backpage to the trial court. This ruling may ultimately allow sex abuse victims to pursue civil redress against Backpage.