Mass. AG wants human trafficking lawsuit against Backpage.com to go forward

By Legal News Line | Feb 23, 2015

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey pushed the federal court in Boston on Friday to allow a lawsuit against Backpage.com over alleged human trafficking to go forward.

In an amicus brief filed on Friday, Healey said the website is actively supporting human trafficking, deceiving the public, and doing things to sidestep the police and jeopardize the safety of victims. Based on these things, Healey alleged that the website shouldn't be protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

“Websites that actively facilitate human trafficking should be held liable for this serious and widespread problem in the commonwealth,” Healey said. “Back page is known for advertising commercial sex, and its recent growth and dominant position in the market call into question its supposed efforts to curb prostitution and child exploitation.”

The brief is in response to a lawsuit filed by three woman who alleged they were recruited by sex traffickers and were sold for sex multiple times on Backpage.com. The women alleged that the owners of Backpage.com deceived the public and the police, so the company could continue to make money and operate its business.

The owners of Backpage.com are seeking to have the suit dismissed, alleging that they are immune from liability for content posted by third parties under the CDA.

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