Tell Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to stop supporting child sex trafficking.
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I was waiting to pick up my 15-year old daughter from track practice on an afternoon like any other. Minutes passed and then hours. I wondered where she was. Panic began to set in. My husband and I called the police, filed a missing person report, and started frantically searching for our baby girl. Only she was nowhere to be found. We were living every parent’s nightmare.
When we recovered her 108 days later, we were so thankful to have found her alive. But then we found out the details. Our sweet girl had been bought and sold on the classified ads site, Backpage.com. She was repeatedly raped up to 15 times a day, all while hidden in plain sight on Backpage.com. A website making hundreds of millions of dollars a year off of human trafficking and exploitation of young girls.
After her ordeal, my daughter and I sued Backpage to determine its role in her harm. The biggest surprise? Two special interest groups, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) — funded by tech industry giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others — actually intervened to file briefs supporting Backpage. These tech groups were actually defending Backpage’s right to host ads selling children. Amazingly, the CDT and EFF have also jumped into other Backpage cases around the country filed by children.
Support of Backpage by the tech industry has not wavered, even though a 21-month Senate investigation revealed that Backpage facilitated the crimes by coaching pimps on how to post ads to evade law enforcement. And still today, Backpage hosts ads selling children on its dating site and on other sites it owns and operates here in the US and around the world. Raking in hundreds of millions of dollars -- and it does this shockingly, under the protection of the law.
Backpage has been protected by an outdated internet law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from being sued for content posted by a third party. Thanks to the efforts of these special interest groups supported by Google and Facebook, federal judges have expanded this law to protect websites that facilitate child sex trafficking.
Will you sign my petition telling Google, Facebook, and Microsoft that defending child sex trafficking is unacceptable?
Sadly, my daughter’s experience is not unique. We are not alone. It’s estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of child sex trafficked victims annually in the United States. And we need your help. We need your voices to reach Google, Facebook, and Microsoft so that they, in turn, are persuaded to stop supporting Backpage. They can no longer allow the special interest groups to jump into these cases.
My daughter and I have been fighting to change the law that protects Backpage since 2010 and because Backpage has won at every turn, we recently told our story to Dr. Oz and in the new movie, I Am Jane Doe, to try to bring our experience to a larger audience, all in an effort to prevent others from going through what my family has gone through.
It's time for this to stop. No one else's daughter should be sold on Backpage.
Please sign this petition to let Google, Facebook, and Microsoft know that financing the defense of Backpage is indefensible.
Nicole S., mother of child who was trafficked through Backpage.com
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