Two alleged victims of underage sex trafficking in Massachusetts filed suit against Backpage.com, accusing the company of assisting in the abuse that occurred approximately 2,000 times by allowing pimps to advertise sex with minors on its website, reports the Boston Globe. The purported victims, identified as Jane Doe No. 1, now 17, and Jane Doe No. 2, now 20, were sold for sex in Massachusetts and Rhode Island more than 1,900 times combined when they were from 15 to 17 years of age.
Their attorneys wrote that the illegal services were advertised in the escorts section of Backpage.com, which the plaintiffs allege “took various steps to sustain the impression” that the site is “a safe and effective vehicle for transactions involving young girls and boys.” Elizabeth McDougall, general counsel for Backpage, said, “We vigorously dispute those allegations. We do more, to my knowledge, than any other online service provider to try to prevent the use of our service” for trafficking minors. McDougall told an Arizona task force that the company's preventive measures include subjecting every adult ad to review by moderators and blocking e-mail and IP addresses tied to illegal activity.