Last Friday, three young girls filed a lawsuit against Backpage.com for allowing them to be sold for sex. The girls were captured by pimps after running away from home and then required to participate in various sex trafficking activities such as posing in lingerie. One of the girls was 13 years old, and another only 15. The lawsuit is intended to hold Backpage.com responsible because they “allowed” the advertising of underage girls.
The suit refers to the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a document intended to protect service providers from the opinions and statements of their users. A federal judge declared that Backpage.com should be required to advertise the ages of their girls, but Backpage is arguing that this violates both the Communications Decency Act, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and the 1st and 5th Amendments.
I’m unimpressed that Backpage.com has not accepted this arrangement and instead, has chosen to fight the people that work to put an end to child-sex trafficking. Although they have every right to defend themselves, there are some situations in which public decency should trump self-defense.