Backpage.com “prostitution ads” ” shuttle children to locations,” Survivorship Notes and Journal, Child/Ritual Abuse Conference August 2018
August 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Backpage.com founder and CEO face new charges
– Survivorship 2018 Summer Journal
– Survivorship 2018 Notes July/August
– 2018 Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference
Backpage.com founder and CEO face new charges
Associated Press July 27, 2018
PHOENIX — A new indictment in Arizona against operators of Backpage.com alleges the classified ad site gave free ads to prostitutes and cultivated arrangements with others who worked in the sex trade to get them to post ads with the company.
The indictment filed Wednesday repeats allegations in an initial round of charges and adds six new money laundering charges against founder Mike Lacey and 50 charges of facilitating prostitution against chief financial officer John Brunst.
A total of seven people were charged in an indictment in late March alleging the site ignored warnings to stop running prostitution ads, sometimes involving children, after the site brought in $500 million of prostitution-related revenue since its inception in 2004.
The new indictment said Backpage.com employees would identify prostitutes through Google searches then call and offer them a free ad. It says the company used the strategy in Nashville and other cities and planned to expand such efforts in Los Angeles and New York.
The document also said the classified site had a business arrangement in which it would place ads on another site that lets customers post reviews of their experiences with prostitutes.
Backpage.com is a Dutch-owned limited liability corporation. Its principal place of business is in Dallas and federal officials say it keeps its bank accounts and servers in Arizona.
Prosecutors say Backpage.com was warned by an internet safety firm in April 2011 about the phrase “New In Town.” a code term used by pimps who shuttle children to locations where they don’t know anyone and can’t get help.
“Nevertheless, Backpage continued for the next seven years to permit ads using the phrase ‘New In Town’ to be published on its website,” the indictment said.
All seven defendants have previously pleaded not guilty to the charges….
Survivorship 2018 Summer Journal
Barriers to Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder
Erin Crenshaw, Randy Noblitt, and Victor Cohen
Changes in Awareness of Severe Abuse and Child Abuse Crimes Over 25 Years
New Book: From the Trenches: A Victim and Therapist Talk about Mind Control and Ritual Abuse
Alison Miller and Wendy Hoffman
Survivorship 2018 Notes July/August
East Coast Summer Conference
The 2018 Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference
August 18 – 19, 2018
Windsor Locks, CT
Special prices and scholarships available until August 5, 2018
Speakers include Dr. Randall Noblitt and Neil Brick
Attorney General Becerra Announces Guilty Plea by Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer and Permanent Shutdown of the Online Sex Trafficking Website
April 19, 2018 Comments Off on Attorney General Becerra Announces Guilty Plea by Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer and Permanent Shutdown of the Online Sex Trafficking Website
Attorney General Becerra Announces Guilty Plea by Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer and Permanent Shutdown of the Online Sex Trafficking Website
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Ferrer pleads guilty to conspiracy and money laundering
Prosecution against Backpage.com shareholders James Larkin and Michael Lacey continues
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that defendant Carl Ferrer, Chief Executive Officer of online sex advertising website Backpage.com, has pled guilty to one charge of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering. The defendant entered the guilty plea in Sacramento County Superior Court, resolving charges against him in the criminal case People of the State of California v. Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey, and James Larkin. This plea follows the permanent shutdown of Backpage.com announced on April 9. The website has been described as the world’s largest online brothel, facilitating human trafficking throughout the world.
Ferrer will cooperate in the prosecution of two controlling shareholders of the website, Michael Lacey and James Larkin. The case against alleged co-conspirators, Lacey and Larkin, continues in Sacramento County Superior Court.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is happening in our own backyard,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The shutdown of Backpage.com is a tremendous victory for the survivors and their families. And the conviction of CEO Ferrer is a game-changer in combatting human trafficking in California, indeed worldwide.”
July 21, 2017 Comments Off on Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017
Consumer Watchdog Calls for Immediate Congressional Hearings on Bipartisan Bill to Change Internet Law So Child Sex Trafficking Websites like Backpage.com Can Be Held Accountable
SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 20, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Watchdog today called on the House Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee to hold immediate hearings on a bill amending a key Internet law so websites like Backpage.com that facilitate child sex trafficking can be held accountable by victims and state attorneys general.
The bipartisan bill, Rep. Ann Wagner’s H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, has 34 co-sponsors. It would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That section provides that a website can’t be held liable for what’s posted on its site by third parties. Tech companies and other defenders of CDA Section 230 claim it promotes and protects free expression on the Internet.
“Internet freedom must not come at the expense of children who are sex trafficked,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director. “Just as the First Amendment does not allow you to shout fire in a crowded movie house, or to assist hit men and drug dealers in their criminal activity, CDA Section 230 must not be allowed to protect an exploitative business that is built on child sex trafficking”….
“One of the most notorious websites, Backpage.com, has become a virtual hub for child sex-trafficking. By one count 73% of child trafficking reports in the United States involve this cynical website,” wrote Simpson. “Backpage hides behind the cloak of Sec. 230 while too many in the tech industry blindly and reflexively claim that needed amendments would undermine Internet freedom.”….
Google, CDT, EFF and other tech industry representatives may claim to be protecting free speech and Internet freedom, but their activities have done little more than protect a notorious sex-trafficking hub from being held accountable by its victims, Consumer Watchdog said. Backpage’s abuses and the fight by its victims to hold it accountable are the subject of a new documentary film, I am Jane Doe. (http://www.iamjanedoefilm.com)
Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017
This bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to specify that communications decency provisions protecting providers or users of interactive computer services from liability for the private blocking or screening of offensive material shall not be construed to impair the enforcement of, or limit availability of victim restitution or civil remedies under, state or federal criminal or civil laws relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking.
The bill amends the federal criminal code to specify that the violation for benefiting from “participation in a venture” engaged in sex trafficking of children, or by force, fraud, or coercion, includes knowing or reckless conduct by any person or entity and by any means that furthers or in any way aids or abets the violation.
A provider of an interactive computer service that publishes information provided by an information content provider with reckless disregard that the information is in furtherance of a sex trafficking offense shall be subject to a criminal fine or imprisonment for not more than 20 years.
What Is Human Trafficking? I am Jane Doe, Communications Decency Act shields Backpage from liability, Europe Global Hub for Child Abuse Websites
April 4, 2017 Comments Off on What Is Human Trafficking? I am Jane Doe, Communications Decency Act shields Backpage from liability, Europe Global Hub for Child Abuse Websites
– Europe Overtakes U.S. to Become Global Hub for Child Abuse Websites, Study Finds
– Child trafficking in UK hits record high, figures show
“federal judges were excusing Backpage from all liability,” said Mazzio. “Even alleged criminal activity is shielded by an outdated internet freedom law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor”
What Is Human Trafficking?
Tom Lowery, Contributor 03/26/2017
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It’s the exploitation of people and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Contrary to popular misconception, Human Trafficking exists in every country, including the United States. If you think it’s always about foreigners and poor people then it’s imperative for you acquaint yourself with the facts.
Victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. They can also come from any socioeconomic group. They’re not dirty or sex mad or stupid. They’re victims of a wide network of underground criminals….
It’s estimated that Human Trafficking generates many billions of dollars in profits per year; second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio (whom I’ve previously written about in my article We Are All Jane Doe), is the producer and director of the film I Am Jane Doe. This documentary followed the heart breaking journey of several middle-school daughters, victims of Sex Trafficking on Backpage.com….
“I was also struck by the fact that federal judges were excusing Backpage from all liability,” said Mazzio. “Even alleged criminal activity is shielded by an outdated internet freedom law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, in a particularly stunning decision, told these Jane Doe children that even if Backpage participated in the federal crime of sex trafficking, the case had to be dismissed. It simply did not make any sense to me that it was legal to host ads for the sale of children here in the United States.” ….
Other types of crimes related to Human Trafficking include Forced Labor and Slave Labor. The International Labor Organization estimates are frightening:
Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.
Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups.
Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
Forced labor in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
Domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment are among the sectors most concerned.
I AM JANE DOE – TRAILER
I AM JANE DOE chronicles the epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, the adult classifieds section that for years was part of the iconic Village Voice.
Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain, directed by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, and produced by Mazzio and Academy-Award nominee, Alec Sokolow, the film is a gut-wrenching human story and fresh look at a social and legal issue that affects every community in America. For more, please visit IamJaneDoeFilm.com
Europe Overtakes U.S. to Become Global Hub for Child Abuse Websites, Study Finds
By Eleanor Ross 4/3/17
Europe is now the global hub of websites hosting child pornography, after a 19 percent jump in content since last year, a new report has found.
The report, conducted by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), found that Europe hosted the greatest number of websites with graphic images and videos of children. The Netherlands has become the country with the most online sexual imagery of children in Europe. (For the purpose of the report, Europe includes Russia and Turkey.)
The IWF is a non-profit, responsible for finding and removing graphic sexual content from the internet.
Until recently, most child sexual abuse images were found in the United States (57 percent), but this has now shifted to Europe, which hosts 60 percent of all material says the report.
Child abuse content has fallen in the United States partly because of work undertaken by the U.S. industry to tackle the problem. Susie Hargreaves, director of the IWF, told the BBC criminals are forced to search harder for host websites where they can upload child pornography. Just 37 percent of abusive images now come from the United States.
“The situation is reversed from previous years. Europe is now the biggest host of child sexual abuse imagery, rather than North America,” Hargreaves told the BBC. There have been no changes in Europe’s policy that would explain the shift, according to the IWF report….
Child trafficking in UK hits record high, figures show
Number of child victims referred rise by 30 per cent in a year, with biggest surge among British children and youngsters from countries affected by conflict May Bulman April 3, 2017
Child trafficking referrals in the UK have hit a record high after rising by 30 per cent in a year, statistics have revealed.
The number of children referred to the UK Government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which identifies victims of human trafficking, increased to 1,278 in 2016, the highest figure on record, according to the latest figures from the National Crime Agency.
More than a third of all potential victims of trafficking were children aged 18 and under, with a majority of children drawn into exploitative labour, including forced criminality, such as cannabis cultivation. Overall, the NRM identified 3,805 potential victims of trafficking in 2016, a 17 per cent increase on 2015…..
All reported forms of exploitation affecting children – domestic servitude, labour exploitation and sexual exploitation – increased by considerable percentages, indicating a worrying diffusion of the types of abuses suffered by children.
Alarmingly, while numbers of potential victims of trafficking increased, positive conclusive decisions — which enable victims to access support — decreased to the lowest point in NRM history to 635, compared with 1,028 the previous year….
The Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Mind Control 2017 Conference
May 19 – 21, 2017 Oakland, CA
Articles and Research by Neil Brick
The rights of children have collided head-on with the First Amendment rights of others in a suit filed by Backpage.com over a landmark law in Washington State
June 20, 2012 Comments Off on The rights of children have collided head-on with the First Amendment rights of others in a suit filed by Backpage.com over a landmark law in Washington State
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing the Internet Archive in a fight against a Washington state law designed to prevent the sex trafficking of minors. EFF, which bills itself as “Defending Your Rights in the Digital World, is a Washington, DC special interest group and long-time supporter of near absolute Internet “freedom.”
This article in the august National Law Journal provides a good overview of the case. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the new plaintiff in the Washington litigation (which was brought by …Backpage.com and Village Voice Media Holdings), the Internet Archive, shares a board member with EFF, Brewster Kahle….
It’s also curious that the newly minted plaintiff, Internet Archive, is funded by the American people through “institutional support” from the National Science Foundation and the Library of Congress….
EFF, which is funded by ….craigslist, also deserves a closer look….http://www.childlaw.us/2012/06/eff-joins-the-child-exploitati.html
Backpage.com Sues Washington AG Over Child Prostitution Law
By Sue Reisinger Corporate Counsel June 6, 2012
Update: U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez in Seattle on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against enforcement of a new Washington State law targeting child prostitution.
Martinez said Backpage.com “has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim . . . as well irreparable harm, the balance of equities tipping strongly in its favor, and injury to the public interest, justifying injunctive relief.”
The restraining order takes effect immediately and continues for at least 14 days. The court set Backpage’s motion for a preliminary injunction for a hearing on June 15.
The rights of children have collided head-on with the First Amendment rights of others in a suit filed by Backpage.com over a landmark law in Washington State.
The online classified-ads site filed a complaint [PDF] against Washington State attorney general Rob McKenna and the state’s county prosecutors on Monday to try and stop them from enforcing a new law that would require providers like Backpage to verify the ages of people in ads offering “adult services,” which can include prostitution.
When the bipartisan bill passed the legislature in February, child protection advocates hailed it as the first of its kind in the nation. It is to take effect on Thursday, unless the U.S. District Court in Seattle grants Backpage’s motion for a temporary restraining order while the suit is heard…. http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202557433632
EFF challenges as overbroad Washington state law targeting child trafficking ads
By Sheri Qualters The National Law Journal June 18, 2012
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping an online library fight a Washington state law that could expose third parties to criminal charges for content related to sex trafficking of minors. EFF’s intervention comes on the heels of similar measures introduced in New York and New Jersey and poised to take effect in Tennessee. http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202559922324&sl
March 22, 2012 Comments Off on Responding to Village Voice on Sex Trafficking
Responding to Village Voice on Sex Trafficking
By NICHOLAS KRISTOF March 21, 2012
After my Sunday column criticizing Village Voice Media for providing a forum for sex traffickers on its Backpage.com websites, Village Voice has struck back. It has just gone on line with an article “What Nick Kristof got wrong”:
The article begins:
Nicholas D. Kristof was wrong about the most devastating ‘fact’ in his Sunday, March 18th, column in The New York Times regarding Backpage.com. He wrote about an underage victim of human trafficking: “Alissa says pimps routinely peddled her on Backpage.” A video that accompanied his online op-ed was headlined: “Age 16, She Was Sold on Backpage.com” That is not true. According to Alissa’s court testimony, she was 16 in 2003. Backpage.com did not exist anywhere in America in 2003.
It’s interesting that Village Voice doesn’t dispute anything in my column or the accompanying video, but only the online blurb for the video. The Voice is right that Alissa was 16 in 2003 — for about two days. In fact, Alissa turned 16 at the end of 2003. So all during 2004, she was 16 years old. And so it was in 2004, not 2003, that she was traveling up and down the east coast being pimped. Backpage operated in at least 11 cities during 2004, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, both of them cities Alissa where says she was pimped on Backpage. Then at 17, as Backpage expanded to 30 cities including Boston, she was pimped even more broadly on Backpage — and also in Village Voice print ads, she says.
Moreover, contrary to what the Voice says, Alissa continued in the sex trade until 2007, when she got out for good. Backpage was steadily expanding and becoming a major force in this period, and pimps routinely used it to sell her, she says.
I’m frankly a bit surprised that Village Voice is even trying to deny its role. Attorneys General around the country have linked Backpage to arrests for trafficking of underage girls in 22 different states. As my column noted, one recent case involved a 15-year-old girl here in New York. A previous column I wrote cited a 13-year-old girl peddled on Backpage.
March 18, 2012 Comments Off on Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods – Backpage Village Voice Media
Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
March 17, 2012
I WENT on a walk in Manhattan the other day with a young woman who once had to work these streets, hired out by eight pimps while she was just 16 and 17. She pointed out a McDonald’s where pimps sit while monitoring the girls outside, and a building where she had repeatedly been ordered online as if she were a pizza….
After Alissa testified against her pimps, six of them went to prison for up to 25 years. Yet these days, she reserves her greatest anger not at pimps but at companies that enable them. She is particularly scathing about Backpage.com, a classified advertising Web site that is used to sell auto parts, furniture, boats — and girls. Alissa says pimps routinely peddled her on Backpage.
“You can’t buy a child at Wal-Mart, can you?” she asked me. “No, but you can go to Backpage and buy me on Backpage.”
Backpage accounts for about 70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites that carry such ads in the United States, earning more than $22 million annually from prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a media research and consulting company. It is now the premier Web site for human trafficking in the United States, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. And it’s not a fly-by-night operation. Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media, which also owns the estimable Village Voice newspaper….
Liz McDougall, general counsel of Village Voice Media, told me that it is “shortsighted, ill-informed and counterproductive” to focus on Backpage when many other Web sites are also involved, particularly because Backpage tries to screen out ads for minors and reports possible trafficking cases to the authorities. McDougall denied that Backpage dominates the field….
Backpage’s exit from prostitution advertising wouldn’t solve the problem, for smaller Web sites would take on some of the ads. But it would be a setback for pimps to lose a major online marketplace. When Craigslist stopped taking such ads in 2010, many did not migrate to new sites: online prostitution advertising plummeted by more than 50 percent, according to AIM Group.
January 22, 2011 Comments Off on Underage sex trade still flourishing online
Underage sex trade still flourishing online By Amber Lyon and Steve Turnham, CNN January 20, 2011
Editor’s note: Hundreds of thousands of girls under the age of 18 are sold as sex slaves in the U.S. In a yearlong investigation, CNN’s Amber Lyon reveals the devastating realities of the business of underage sex. Don’t miss CNN Presents “Selling the Girl Next Door” this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN)….STORY HIGHLIGHTS
* Selena, 13, was sold for sex on backpage.com
* Advocacy groups have accused the website of facilitating the trafficking of underage girls
* Neither backpage.com nor its owner would comment on those accusations….
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are at least 100,000 underage girls being sex trafficked in America today. That’s a conservative estimate based on what little hard data currently exists; NCMEC believes the real number could be as high as 300,000.
Most are runaways, suffering from psychological problems or drug dependence, picked up and sold by pimps for staggering profits. According to studies, pimps can make up to half a million dollars a year, and they frequently prey on the young and the vulnerable.
The pimps ply their trade on the web, the new marketplace for underage sex trafficking. Last year, victims’ advocates called the internet classified site Craigslist’s Adult Service Section the “Walmart of child sex trafficking.”
CNN investigated Craigslist, posting an ad and receiving numerous calls from men seeking sex. That investigation helped spark a national conversation and outrage, as well as a call from 17 attorneys general around the country for Craigslist to shut down its adult services section.
But when Craigslist shut down its section, the escort ads migrated to another site, backpage.com. We decided to investigate Backpage after advocacy groups accused the website, which is owned by the Village Voice Media Group, of facilitating the trafficking of underage girls.
According to the AIM Group, an internet consulting firm, Backpage’s escort site earned an estimated $20 million in 2010. Its profits soared after Craigslist decided to pull the plug on its adult services section….Last fall, Backpage hired internet security advisor Hemu Nigam to implement “a holistic plan centered around preventing criminal activity on our site.” We wanted to know what that “holistic plan” was, but Nigam wouldn’t talk to us either.
Full nudity appears to have disappeared from the site, but suspect ads with tag lines such as “Daddy’s Little Girl” are common.
September 20, 2010 Comments Off on Ex-child prostitute sues Village Voice over sex ads, Palmdale group update
Ex-child prostitute sues Village Voice over sex ads
By Jacqui Cheng 9/19/10
A teenage child trafficking victim has filed a lawsuit against Village Voice Media, for knowingly allowing her pimp to post ads for her “services” on the popular backpage.com. The pimp, Latasha Jewell McFarland, has already pleaded guilty to prostitution charges, but the victim (going by M.A. in the complaint, as she is still a minor) says that Village Voice knew that the photos being posted of her were illegal but “failed to investigate for fear of what it would learn.”
M.A. says she was 14 when she was found as a runaway by McFarland, who began pimping out M.A. for $100 per sex act (McFarland took half the earnings). In order to advertise M.A.’s services, McFarland took pornographic photos of M.A. and posted them on backpage.com in the personals section for those seeking sex. McFarland pleaded guilty earlier this month to photographing M.A. in pornographic poses, posting child porn on backpage, paying the site for the postings, transporting M.A. for the purpose of pimping her out for sex, and collecting money for M.A.’s sexual services.
In the complaint, however, M.A. accuses Village Voice of having knowledge that the explicit photos were 1) of a minor, and 2) for prostitution services. No evidence is outlined in the complaint that explicitly points to Village Voice having this knowledge, but M.A. says the company aided and abetted her pimp in facilitating prostitution and child pornography. She also argues that Village Voice should not be granted immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—a law that has historically protected websites from being held liable for the content posted by users.
“Defendant had a strong suspicion that the aforementioned crimes were being committed,” reads the complaint. “Defendant had a desire that these posters accomplished their nefarious illegal prostitution activities so that the posters would return to the website and pay for more posting.”
Leader of religious sect held for evaluation
Group found safe hours after going missing in Southern California Missing sect members found, but questions remain
By JACOB ADELMAN 9/19/2010 PALMDALE, Calif. — The leader of a breakaway religious sect was hospitalized Sunday for a mental evaluation, after members of her group went missing and left behind evidence that they were awaiting the rapture or some catastrophic event. Reyna Marisol Chicas was placed under a 72-hour mandatory hold after it was determined she was not able to care for herself or others, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Kim. Chicas gave investigators a false name and was rambling during questioning, Kim said. She told deputies she had no children, even though her two kids were with her.
Ending a frantic search, deputies found Chicas and 12 others just before noon at Jackie Robinson Park near Palmdale after getting a tip from a local resident, said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. He said all members are safe.
….The men told investigators they believe group members had been “brainwashed” by Chicas, and one expressed worries that they might harm themselves, Parker said. One of the children is 3, and the others range from 12 to 17. When deputies arrived at the park they found the children playing on swings and the adults on a blanket praying out loud in Spanish.