Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is joining 20 other states that have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to represent three victims of human trafficking.
Those victims are all minors and they’re filing suit against Backpage.com, a website Fox says is one of the worst purveyors of criminal activity, including human trafficking of minors.
“Selling sex over the internet is one of the only services that backpage.com offers for which they charge money, so they are making money through pushing a criminal activity that harms people and most often minors. Most of the individuals that are trafficked for sex are between the ages of 12 and 14, mostly girls. This is a heinous crime and for anybody to make money on this is unconscionable,” Fox says.
The case centers on whether a website may be civilly sued for designing its website to facilitate sex trafficking by third parties.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in March of this year that the Federal Communications Decency Act, also known as CDA, precludes such lawsuits.
The brief, put together by Attorneys General across the United States, urges the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and reverse the First Circuit’s decision.
The victims contend CDA doesn’t protect Backpage.com from liability for deliberately making tools available on its website that facilitate sex trafficking.
According to CNN the CEO of Backpage was recently arrested.
55-year-old Carl Ferrer was arrested in Houston after landing on a flight from Amsterdam.
Ferrer was arrested on a warrant from California, which charged him with pimping children and other counts.
In a joint investigation, California and Texas authorities say they found that adults and children had been forced into prostitution through escort ads on backpage.com.
Attorney General Tim Fox says undercover agents are constantly monitoring websites like backpage.com to recover victims and arrest alleged predators.
As of now, we’re waiting to find out if the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case.
Attorney General Tim Fox says there’s a number of people including lawmakers who don’t believe human trafficking happens in our state.
Fox says it does happen in our state and across the nation. Fox tells us he’ll continue to fight to put human traffickers out of business.