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Filed in 2012, the plaintiffs alleged they were between 13 and 15 years old when they were advertised for sex on
Each of the plaintiffs claimed a sex trafficker paid a small fee to post their sex ads in the “escort” section of the website.
We need the tech companies to tell Congress they will continue to prosper even if steps are taken to hold sex traffickers accountable. California: The California lawsuit was filed on behalf of a teenage girl who the complaint identifies as “Jane Doe.” Jane Doe alleges she was 15 years old when she was sold for sex on the website.
According to the Senate report, the website generated 5 million in revenue in 2014, and the vast majority of that revenue was from sex ads.In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged the website should be held liable because it “knowingly developed a nationwide online marketplace for illicit commercial sex” and did so “because of the millions of dollars that they generated from the website every month.” The plaintiffs claimed the website had a practice of “altering ads before publication by deleting words, phrases, and images indicative of criminality” and then “publishing the ‘sanitized ads’ for a fee.” The lawsuit was the first in the country to defeat the website’s argument that it is immune from sex trafficking lawsuits under the Communications Decency Act.Passed in the mid-1990s to promote the growth of the internet, the CDA gives websites immunity from lawsuits for content posted by third parties.In the end, we believe we showed their system was designed to promote sex trafficking, not prevent it.” Jason Amala, another attorney for the plaintiffs, said the company could not explain how their system helped to protect children: “A number of their top executives refused to answer nearly all of our questions and invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.Even their in-house lawyer could not explain how removing terms like ‘amber alert’ or ‘lolita’ helps to fight child sex trafficking.
Instead, Ferrer allegedly said it was “[b]etter to edit by removing bad text or removing bad language” so that users could “adjust.” The complaint cites the email as evidence that the website intentionally sanitized sex ads so that it could profit from the ads.