Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Against Backpage.com Can Move Forward
The Washington Supreme Court has ruled a lawsuit against Backpage.com can move forward. The lawsuit alleges Backpage was complicit in the sex trafficking of minors.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of three victims of child sex trafficking. It alleges they were bought and sold for sex on the website Backpage.com owned by Village Voice Media.
Writing for the majority, Justice Steven Gonzalez says there are “sufficient facts that, if proved, would show” Backpage helped “to produce the illegal content.”
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud argues Backpage is not a “content provider,” but instead a “service provider” shielded by the Communications Decency Act.
That federal law protects web hosts from lawsuits over the content of ads placed on their websites by third-parties. The six-to-three ruling from the Washington Supreme Court means the lawsuit against Backpage.com can proceed in Pierce County Superior Court.