Mass. lawsuit against Backpage (From the mouth of Liz McDougall IX)


Backpage attorney Liz McDougall
Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

For those of you outraged by the picture and are ready to accuse me of misogyny please read the entire post before jerking your knee.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against Backpage this year for their prostitution ads by trafficking victims. I haven’t really been posting about them because they’re always dismissed under the guise of Backpage’s free speech. Another one has been recently filed in Massachusetts by two women who were turned out by pimps on Backpage when they were 15 and 17 respectively. Unfortunately I’m sure this one will be eventually dismissed as well since the law is actually on Backpage’s side due to the antiquated Communications Decency Act of 1996.

However, this particular lawsuit caught my eye because Backpage’s head legal weasel and corporate whore (we’re not there yet) Liz McDougall has commented on this particular lawsuit.

“We do more than any other online service provider to try to prevent the use of our service for any kind of human sex trafficking,” McDougall said.

No, no you don’t. That has to be a bold-faced lie if I ever heard one. As I’ve posted before Backpage represents 82 percent of all online prostitution and 80 percent of all their ads are for prostitution. So statistically you’re doing a whole lot of nothing when it comes to preventing trafficking on your website.

Now as far as the picture goes I did not place the caption on it because Ms. McDougall is female. I placed it there because I think that there’s no way in hell she can possibly believe the bullcrap that she is spreading on Backpage’s behalf. Since she’s more than likely only doing it for the money that makes her a whore in my eyes. Go back and read some of the other things she has said and tell me that she isn’t. And if you still want to call me a misogynist then that is your right but just remember I actually care about the women and girls that are being trafficked against their will on Backpage while it’s obvious that Liz McDougall does not.

UPDATE 1/19/2015: The cities of Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California are both going to file friend of the court briefs in support of the lawsuit.

UPDATE 5/18/2015: As expected the lawsuit was dismissed citing the much outdated Communications Decency Act however, lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Sadly I think that Backpage will completely move operations overseas before they can be held responsible for their actions.

UPDATE 6/22/2015: The victims who were trafficked on Backpage have already started the process to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal.

UPDATE 10/8/2016: Prior to the arrest of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, 20 state Attorneys General filed friend of the court briefs, asking the Supreme Court to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

UPDATE 1/12/2017: Roughly around the same time Backpage closed the adult sections of its site, The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the lawsuit.

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Comments 12

  • Lmao at that picture!

  • backpage.com has put up more money for the direct services of children victimized by human trafficking than the United States government. Why not the vigilantism against the Yellow Pages who carry the thousands of dollars of escort ads by Russian organized crime? Why not go after the number 1 impediment to law enforcement tracking children who are forced to prostitute – the prepaid cell phones? Liz McDougall spent hours last week in the Children of the Night shelter home with our children who have been sex trafficked all over the United States – she is helping them have their stories and home addresses removed from newspapers and news stories on the internet. Many children are identified as prostitutes in the Missing Person Reports and stories of how parents suffered or law enforcment prevailed.

    • Please bear with me Ms. Lee. This is going to seem sarcastic but I assure you it is not.

      Backpage is doing what I used to call the craigslist conundrum wherein Craigslist kept claiming to help the problem of sex trafficking while at the same time facilitating it before they shut down their erotic services section.

      A report by the AIM Group http://aimgroup.com/ states that by their estimate Backpage is responsible for 82% of all online sex trafficking and that 80% of their ads are for prostitution.

      I wholeheartedly support Children of the Night. I’ve linked to them from this website as a resource for human trafficking victims for quite some time, but how can you honestly say that Backpage is helping when by all accounts their one of the largest facilitators of human trafficking in the world whose own supposed safeguards fail to stop people from posting ads using burner cell phones and pre-paid credit cards?

      • Hi Trench, Backpage may dominate the internet advertising of escorts but the internet represents such a small percent of prostitution activity. There is so much competition on the internet that the advertisers must wait sometimes as long as 8 hours for a call. Law enforcement has abandoned their practices of running ads, renting hotel rooms and waiting for customers to respond because the costs outweighed the number of arrests. Many people including children advertising on the internet also work on the public streets, motels, truck stops, highways, etc because that is where the volume of customers can be found. This is true even for the children. Children of the Night receives children from all over the United States 24/7 who have just left a pimp/trafficker – why doesn’t anyone listen to these children? Where is the government’s commitment to food, shelter, schooling, etc for these children. The ads &amp the studies promoting sex trafficking organizations offering help don’t answer their telephones and if you can track them down they don’t have beds or programs just empty promises of what they plan to do. Licensed group homes operated by qualified credentialed social service administrators are needed for these children. The billions of dollars spent on law enforcement, prosecutions, advocacy, task forces, do-gooder legislation has done nothing for the children who are victimized by this horrible crime and much of it has distracted from the real victim – the child who comes from a chaotic household characterized by domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness. This work is not as much fun as the court room or the television camera or the conferences. Backpage.com has donated almost $500,000 to the direct care and supervision of these children and $1 – $2 million in help ads offering a way out to anyone who wants to leave prostitution. And they have made themselves available to the cop on the street nationwide who needs their assistance to actively rescue a child held by an adult pimp/trafficker. I called them 3 years ago to partner because vice detectives across North America asked me to stop the sex trafficking organizations from trying to shut them down because backpage.com was such a big help to the rescue of children. Those of us with “boots on the ground” see it differently. Dr. Lois Lee, Founder &amp President

        • One thing we agree about Dr. Lee is that there aren’t enough resources for the trafficked victims and it is reprehensible that the women and girls who are being trafficked against their will are sometimes being labeled as criminals.

          However I think it’s a legitimate question to ask what percentage of the funding for your organization comes from Backpage and how is it not a conflict of interest since Backpage is collecting in upwards of $30 million a year from the escort ads alone? Would you accept such funds from the previously mentioned Russian Mob? I really don’t see much of a difference except that Backpage has a PR rep.

          • 10% of our budget or 800 days of comprehensive services including shelter, onsite school, medical, dental, counseling, case management, recreation and sports program. Perhaps you would like to come out and pick which children should be returned to a pimp/trafficker because they are not worthy of help according to your values

          • So basically, for the price of 10% of your budget, Backpage has bought your loyalty and refusal to call them out for what they are. To actually sing their praises.

            I can’t help but notice as I read through this thread that you seem very reluctant to call out Backpage for their role in this disgusting trade. They make millions on the literal backs of children, and you refuse to acknowledge their major part in this. You choose instead to, redirect, deflect blame to elsewhere, and use passive/aggressive tactics and tell Trench, “perhaps you would like to blah blah blah.”

            While there are other sources for this activity, this (Backpage and Craigslist) are where Trench focuses his attention. You demand he focus on all these other sources (deflect) yet you cannot bring yourself to outright condemn backpage for their obvious role.

            Something smells very fishy in Denmark.

          • Let’s simplify this. I’m a heroin dealer. I make 30 million a year peddling smack. I don’t give a fuck who I sell it to. I’m making green. You run a rehab center. I give you 2 million. You sing my praises and refuse to condemn me as a drug dealer. You rehabilitate a small percentage. Meanwhile, I continue to deal and create more addicts, laughing all the way to the bank. And you are just fine with that. Because I help you cure a few of the addicts I created. Yep. That’s about right.

          • I never said that they weren’t worthy of help however you’re getting 10% of you budget from someplace that’s probably causing over 50% of the problem you’re trying to combat.

      • I still try to figure out How anyone with a semblance of a soul can rationalize, justify, and defend the fact that their business is used on a regular basis for the the abuse and exploitation of children. But then I remember…. Oh yeah….money. It must make looking at yourself in the mirror easier. I couldn’t….but then I have a soul. And it’s not for sale. Like some. Liz…..

  • […] Children of the Night takes money from Backpage. The group’s director, Dr. Lois Lee, has even admitted as such on my website. […]

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