Earlier today, state agencies in Texas raided the headquarters of Backpage and arrested their CEO, Carl Ferrer, on Sex Trafficking charges.
Backpage is an online classified ad site (think Craigslist) that has been instrumental in the ability to exploit and sell victims of sex trafficking.
This is a huge step, but unfortunately we need to already shift our focus on this case, and begin looking at what’s next.
When Craigslist shut down their “Adult Services” section of their site, traffickers migrated to Backpage, and it became the leading platform for the buying and selling of people. That may sound like harsh language, but that is exactly what sex trafficking is.
Now that Backpage has taken this hit, I can guarantee that traffickers are already looking to find a space where they can continue their business. Most likely they will dive deeper into the dark web, continuing to utilize the latest technology to exploit and harm these victims. A 2014 study showed that 70% of child sex trafficking victims were sold online. The battle against trafficking is now fought in digital spaces. Traffickers are using technology to cause harm, so we must use technology to bring hope.
Our team is already working on a plan to utilize technology in new ways to go into these spaces with the goal of rescuing victims and shining a light on the reality of trafficking.
Today’s announcement is a big one, and an important one. However, the fight continues, and we are ready!
Written by Priceless. Priceless is an anti-sex trafficking organization based in Anchorage, Alaska that walks with survivors to find new life while meeting practical needs.