Portman and McCaskill Win Another Victory Against Backpage.com
Court Agrees with Senate in Online Sex Trafficking Investigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (May 16), U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced that they have won another victory against Backpage.com and its CEO, Carl Ferrer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed with the U.S. Senate that Backpage’s appeal should be dismissed. The court held that Backpage’s arguments were moot in light of PSI’s January 10 report entitled, “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking,” which found that Backpage knowingly concealed evidence of crimes occurring on its website. The court further found that the Subcommittee obtained documents during the course of its investigation “in service of legitimate legislative purposes.”
“Today’s ruling is yet another victory in the Subcommittee’s fight for the thousands of innocent victims of sex trafficking,” Senators Portman and McCaskill said. “This is just the latest in a string of defeats for Backpage handed down by court after court. The D.C. Circuit made clear the Senate’s constitutional investigative authority to fight online human trafficking. Earlier this year, the Subcommittee’s bipartisan investigation culminated in a hearing and report that showed that Backpage has been more deeply complicit in online sex trafficking than anyone had imagined.”
NOTE: The Subcommittee began its bipartisan investigation of human trafficking on the Internet in April 2015. With estimated annual revenues of more than $150 million, Backpage is a market leader in commercial sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children.
On January 10, 2017, the Subcommittee held a hearing and issued a report detailing how Backpage knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and underage girls, and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.