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I am Jane Doe

I am Jane Doe – Child Sex Trafficking Today

Melissa Palfrey, Community Relations Director


Keeping your child safe is a particularly difficult task given the amount of technology children are exposed to and how savvy criminals and abusers have become in seducing children. Please be sure to monitor online gaming (chat rooms on games are particularly vulnerable), snap chat (and location visibility within those apps), and as much as you can, keep an eye on any online dialog.


I am Jane Doe is a documentary on Netflix that was produced in 2017. I am Jane Doe details the legal/court battle of several victims of child trafficking against Backpage.com which is still ongoing today. Backpage is an internet site that serves as a conduit where pimps and traffickers list their “products” for sale. Products such as children who have been abducted and forced into the sex trafficking network. Other products that mask these outright crimes on their site are escorts, pornography, and other legal products for sale. The site was launched with this platform in 2004.


Over several years, several sex trafficking victims who were sold via this site waged in a legal battle against the site and its part in the human trafficking crimes against them. Each victim was met with the same judicial answer time and time again by various local and state courts. The internet and its content are protected the first amendment and by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This act was enacted during the infancy of the internet in 1996. This removes liability for tech companies to moderate content posted by third parties on their site.


Section 230 is a key shield for popular site such as Facebook and Google as well and is known as the core pillar of internet freedom. However, Backpage.com used this section as a shield against human trafficking charges and their lack of responsibility to children that are repeatedly raped and for sale on their site. Backpage goes as far as how to instruct these traffickers how to list without setting up red flags to law enforcement such as using terms such as: school girl, young, and underage along with several other red flag words.

Backpage is not just a start up page making yearly wages for their team. This is a multimillion-dollar company making their income off of exploited women and children who are being trafficked right here in the United States. Backpage’s yearly income in 2016 was over $150 million dollars.


“How is it possibly legal that a company makes millions of dollars every year helping pimps sell human sex trafficking victims, including children? Why would congress ever grant immunity to a company that engages in conduct like this?” —Erik Bauer, lawyer


It has been sixteen years of Backpage ignoring warnings to stop running advertisements promoting prostitution and child sex trafficking and judges and courts upholding Section 230. The next trial for Backpage.com is scheduled for August 17, 2020.


Sources:

I am Jane Doe – Netflix Documentary

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/arizona/articles/2020-02-24/trial-set-for-founders-of-backpagecom-in-case-over-sex-ads