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"Little Barbies" Sex Trafficking of Young Girls in America

Children are being “ targeted and sold for sex  in America every day".  John Ryan, National Center for Missing & Expl...

venerdì 10 febbraio 2017

"I Am Jane Doe" The Fight Against Online Child Sex Trafficking

Documentarian Mary Mazzio has met several women and girls who survived the sex trafficking industry — and one thing that surprised her was how many of them were willing to go on camera to share their stories.

“Every one of them looked at me and said, ‘So it won’t happen to my little sister or my friend,’ ” Mazzio recalls. 
Another girl looked her in the eye and said, “‘I’m doing this so it doesn’t happen to your daughter.’ ”
Their collected accounts are the focus of Mazzio’s documentary I Am Jane Doe, which opens Friday. The title is a reference to the name adopted by an anonymous party in a lawsuit or crime — which is fitting, as multiple survivors are suing Backpage.comThey argue that the company’s CEO and former owners knowingly permitted the sale of underage girls for sex.
Representatives for and its executives have said a federal law protects them from third-party posters to the site. An attorney for the site claims the now-suspended “adult section” was actually an aid to police.
One of the women featured in Jane Doe and who is suing is J.S., who agreed to share her story in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. She and her family filed a lawsuit in the state of Washington in 2010 after J.S. was seduced as a teenager by a man twice her age, sold for sex and eventually rescued in a police sting operation. 
It has been seven years, and her case is headed for trial in the spring. 
• For more on J.S. and her fight against sex trafficking, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
“As a family, you really feel the personal toll that it takes,” J.S.’ father, Tom, tells PEOPLE. “We’ve had a lot of support. It’s the kids and girls out there that don’t have a voice that we’re trying to represent.”
Mazzio says her film is built on their courage and the courage of the other women.
“This is their story, this is their journey, and it’s hidden in plain sight,” she says. “So few people actually know this is happening within our own borders.”

Kubiiki Pride and her daughter M.A., a survivor of sex trafficking Photo: Courtesy of 50 Eggs Films
You may have read about It’s an online marketplace site in the mold of Craigslist that for several years shared a parent company—partially owned, for a time, by Goldman Sachs—with New York City’s august alt-weekly the Village Voice. Since Craigslist shuttered its own Adult classified section in 2010, Backpage has had a corner on that particular market, commanding 80 percent of online commercial sex advertising revenues in the U.S. And it’s been in the news a lot these past few year after a series of Jane Doe plaintiffs lodged high-profile lawsuits against the website for facilitating the sex trafficking of minors.
“Sex trafficking: I think that’s a really antiseptic word,” says the filmmaker Mary Mazzio. “People are like: Oh, sex trafficking. Boo-hoo . . . No, no, no! This is the repeated rape of children under the age of 18. This is modern-day human slavery.”
Mazzio, a former Olympic rower and corporate lawyer is lively and animated, even by phone, even talking about a subject as grim as this one. She’s gearing up to release I Am Jane Doe, a documentary about some of the plaintiffs in those lawsuits, who as teenagers—one was only 13—left home, fell into the clutches of pimps, and soon found themselves marketed as escorts on Backpage, where they were sold for sex, sometimes dozens of times a day.
Mazzio, who cites estimates that hundreds of thousands of children a year fall victim to sex trafficking in this country, first heard of their plight in her local paper, The Boston Globe. “I remember thinking: Child sex trafficking happens here, literally 20 minutes from where I live?” She was shocked to hear that Backpage had anything to do with The Village Voice, famous for being the sort of progressive indie paper that speaks truth to power (her film includes interviews with many grizzled Voice reporters who are also horrified by the association). And, as a lawyer, she was further flabbergasted by the question of how Backpage, which her film refers to as “the Walmart of sex trafficking,” kept succeeding in getting federal judges to dismiss the suits brought by its child accusers. “That was inconceivable to me,” she remembers. “Federal judges were interpreting a law to basically say it’s legal to host advertisements for children? This is the United States of America! What the F?”
The law in question is a provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which holds that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” That boils down to mean that online publishers aren’t legally accountable for content that third parties post on their platforms. And per the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, we can thank CDA 230—“perhaps the most influential law to protect the kind of innovation that has allowed the Internet to thrive since 1996”—for making user-generated websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Craigslist possible. (We can also indirectly thank Jordan Belfort, aka The Wolf of Wall Street, for its existence: Congress passed CDA 230 after Belfort’s firm Stratton Oakmont sued primordial Internet service provider Prodigy over some possibly libelous anonymous comments posted on a message board; the court ruled in Stratton Oakmont’s favor, and Congress responded with legislation to reverse the decision and to protect fledgling Internet companies from debilitating exposure to lawsuits).
Be that as it may, it’s tough to believe that the legislators who dreamed up CDA 230 could have imagined that their get-out-of-jail-free proviso might be used to defend a company that may have, as lawyers for these Jane Doe plaintiffs allege and as this Senate report details, accepted the business of pimps intent on marketing underage girls, deployed filters that assisted those criminals in operating under the radar of law enforcement, and even when working with anti-trafficking groups, made a practice of reporting only selective cases. (Backpage denies these allegations).
With a few exceptions including a judge in Washington State who ruled to hear a case later this year brought by three Jane Does against Backpage, the judiciary seems unprepared to reinterpret the boundaries of CDA 230: In January, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case against Backpage out of Boston (despite an amicus brief filed by marriage-equality star lawyer David Boies); in December, a California judge dismissed charges of pimping and money laundering brought by then–Attorney General Kamala Harris against Backpage shareholders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, and CEO Carl Ferrer (though new charges have since been filed and are pending).
It seems that it falls to Congress to fix a problem it helped create: A bipartisan Senate subcommittee led by Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Claire McCaskill is attempting to hold Backpage’s feet to the fire, and the heat they’ve applied is, at least nominally, working. A few weeks ago, just ahead of the release of a damning report about Backpage’s corporate policies, the site dismantled its Adult section. Click on any of the Adult sub-tabs and you’ll get the message, “The government has unconstitutionally censored this content,” and a link to Children of the Night, a charity devoted to “rescuing America’s children from prostitution.” (Lest you feel too good about this development, click over to the dating section, and you’ll get an influx of the same type of ads that once appeared in Adult: they’ve migrated.)
This is a complicated moment for free speech and technology in America. We’ve seen a president disavow the legitimacy of mainstream media on Twitter. We’ve seen the proliferation of fake news, and a backlash against Facebook and Google for their failure to regulate those stories. A Florida judge effectively put Gawker out of business when he ruled in favor of Hulk Hogan’s right to privacy in a lawsuit funded by Peter Thiel. And there’s a storm of public outrage brewing over Simon & Schuster’s decision to publish a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart News staffer who spearheaded the blatantly racist harassment of actress Leslie Jones, which got him banned from Twitter.
It’s easy to get lost in an intellectual argument about CDA 230 and the freedoms it enshrines, and Backpage, says Mazzio, has “brilliantly” inserted itself into the center of that debate over free speech in the digital arena. (“It’s a really interesting legal issue,” she admits.) But, in so doing, they’ve distracted us from the real victims. She made I Am Jane Doe, Mazzio says, in part to cut through the noise, to force Americans (quite literally, if you watch the film) to face the children who feel their unthinkable suffering was aided and abetted by Backpage, and who are bravely leading by example to “move the needle on this crime.”
What kind of society do we want to be?” asks actress Jessica Chastain in a voiceover (she narrates the documentary). Mazzio and I discuss that, and more, below.
At the point at which you decided to make the documentary, your first concern must have been: Will any of these Jane Does speak to me on camera?
Actually I was thinking at the beginning that I would focus on the lawyers, including the Backpage lawyers. Then I asked the lawyers, can I meet your clients? When I met the Jane Doe children and their parents, particularly their mothers, that was a game changer.
The children were remarkable. For them to not only participate in the film, but also in a lawsuit where they would be at risk of unmasking their identity? I said, why would you do this? Every kid had the same answer: Well, we didn’t want it to happen to a younger friend, a younger sister. One looked me in the eye, and said, do you have a daughter? I’m doing it for her. Would she do it for me?
I was like Oh, shit. This is the story.
You argue that that CDA 230 is outdated. Can you explain why?
Section 230 was enacted 20 years ago, when the Internet was beginning. I understand the reasons back then. If you fast-forward to today, technology has far outpaced our legal framework.
Why does this law continue today when it does not apply to old media? New media is mature, robust, a profitable industry. Why are they not responsible for third-party content when TV stations and The New York Times and any sort of brick-and-mortar, off-line media have to show up in court for third-party content? Section 230 was intended really to save [new] businesses on legal fees. It has nothing to do with the first amendment.
Now there have been 300 cases around the CDA, and almost all involve some sort of defamation. This is one of the few cases where criminal activity by the publisher, or the website, is alleged. So this is a really novel kind of case. And yet, the federal judges, especially the First Circuit in Boston, took Section 230 and extended it almost beyond recognition two months ago. They basically said if Backpage had participated and profited, even as a co-conspirator, in the crime of child sex trafficking, they are not liable.
It doesn’t make any sense. I was at the hearing when the First Circuit was deciding in November, and [retired] U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter asked the lawyer for Jane Doe: Well, what’s the difference between what Backpage is doing to promote a thriving sex trade and a Washington-based car sale? I could not believe that he was comparing the sale of cars to the sale of children.
I think part of the problem here is that federal judges are not aware of this crime. They don’t go online. They think they know what’s happening, and they’re just not aware. I don’t know if half of them used the word rape in these cases as it relates to these children. It goes back to child sex trafficking, it’s such a sanitized term. You almost don’t know what it means.
You know, you’re seeing this play out in real time right now. Facebook is imploding with this whole fake news crisis. It’s the same argument: Well, we’re not responsible for what people are putting on our site. My argument is: I have no Internet freedom. If I go buy a Teflon pan, I see that Teflon pan everywhere I go. You are tracking me, and it’s so irritating. But if you can track me, and my purchase behavior, are you telling me that you don’t have the algorithms for a simple search technology to find people who are posting children? You do, and in fact the NSA is using that very technology to search for terrorist chatter online. The question to the tech industry, which has been supporting Backpage, is what more can you do to eradicate this harm?
We’re also seeing a version of this question about the responsibility of publishers playing out in old media. Should Simon & Schuster publish a book by Milo Yiannopoulos? What responsibility do publishers have not to propagate hate speech?
I think Backpage has brilliantly wrapped itself in this freedom of speech argument. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. We’re talking about criminality; we’re not talking about free speech and defamation. There is no such thing as [truly] free speech. If you paint a swastika on a synagogue, you will be arrested. At some point hate speech becomes criminal activity. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. You can be arrested for that. We’ve made a decision as a society that people will be hurt [if that happens]. If we amend Section 230, it has nothing to do with free speech; we’re not touching the First Amendment. We’re just saying: New media, you have responsibilities to defend against allegations that you are involved in criminality, just like old media has.
The plaintiff's argument is that Backpage basically coaches pimps and traffickers in how to word their ads so as to not call attention to the fact that they are selling children. What’s the company’s argument for why they do that?
Backpage says: Oh, no, we have terms of service that make it very clear what’s legal and what’s not. And that argument sounds really good on its face.
But we talked to a Backpage monitor. She said it’s getting more and more nuanced. So there’s a whole system of coding. In the film, we tracked one NGO that tried to put up an ad. Let’s say you try to post a 16-year-old; a filter will come up that’s a dropdown menu for age. If you press 16, it’ll say, oops, now you’re being criminal. Try again. Must be over 18. So they posted an ad that said “hot 15-year-old” in the title, then the dropdown said 18. And the bloody thing went live. Backpage might say, well, we’ll then delete it. But the moderator told me that sometimes it would be five minutes, sometimes five hours. These moderators, they’re often working from home, they’re reviewing 800 ads in an 8-hour, 10-hour day. And one moderator said, “I never understood why ads I tried to delete—because it clearly was a kid—how I would see it the next day on the site.”
The cause has gotten support from senators like Rob Portman, John McCain, and Claire McCaskill. Why do you think Congress has gotten it in a way that judges have not?
I know this issue came to the attention of senators out of the Jane Doe case in Boston that was taken on by this big white-shoe law firm. It’s fascinating because the Department of Education, Homeland Security, HHS, all of these federal agencies are coming out with anti-trafficking initiatives geared at children. Think about that for a second. The Department of Education is coming out with an initiative. It means they are seeing alarming statistics of children going missing, children being victimized.
The Senate, they’ve been accused by Backpage of grandstanding, but if you look at the makeup of this investigative committee, it’s bipartisan. That’s almost unheard of. Nobody in Washington can agree on anything. The fact that they’re starting to come across the aisle is pretty amazing.
This is Backpage’s own making. They could have profitably operated under the radar if they had done just a little more. They were in early conversations with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which said, oh, we need you to do this and this: Low-cost filtering. Don’t scrub identifying marks in your ads. If it’s a kid we want to be able to trace the photo. Really reasonable requests. But Backpage was like, no can do. They then blew off the first Senate hearing. It’s one thing to have this elaborate legal structure in place; it’s another to say, I’m not going to respond to a congressional subpoena.
Given how brilliant you feel their legal strategy was, why have they made such dunderheaded moves as not showing up for a congressional subpoena?
You’re putting it kindly. You saw the film, you saw [Backpage co-owner] Michael Lacey yawn during the description of the harm to these children [during a later congressional hearing]. I think it’s hubris. I also think the amount of money was so extraordinary that children became collateral damage.
Newsweek interviewed adult sex workers who attested that putting Backpage’s escort site out of business will put them in harm’s way. I don’t exactly think we should protect consenting adults above non-consenting children, but it does complicate the question of whether there’s a legitimate need for this kind of marketplace to operate on the Internet.
I think that’s a great question. The Jane Does never sought to shut down Backpage. It’s kind of like the tobacco industry. If you have a product that’s doing harm, you have to be responsible for the harm. In the case of Backpage, they weren’t doing enough to eradicate harm. They need to do more. Period. End of story. If people want to smoke, god bless. And for consensual adults, I don’t care! If you want to sell a child, that is a crime.
You have a legal background. Why did you feel you could do more as a documentary filmmaker than as a lawyer?
I was a real estate lawyer, doing commercial real estate corporate work. But I was also representing the homeless and indigent on a pro-bono basis. Every time I showed up in court, it was the same story, a different face. I remember thinking: I’m not doing anything for anybody. I need to do something bigger on a policy level. That’s where I’m going to be most effective.
We have a private screening tonight, a public briefing about the issue of the film tomorrow with members of Congress. I feel I can be so much more effective in helping these children than I could by showing up in court and representing one child. That being said: The lawyers in these cases, they’re doing the heavy lifting. And the credit really goes back to Nacole and Kubiiki [mothers to two of the plaintiffs] and their children. They’re the ones who have had their shoulders to the wheel since 2010.
These are very different cases, but it seems relevant that in Florida a judge was willing to rule against an Internet publisher in favor of the rights of Hulk Hogan not to have his sex tape published. But here, judges can’t see past a sweeping law to recognize that an Internet platform may be helping to violate the rights of children.
Exactly! Obviously the cases are different, but I think there’s this perception of consent, that, oh, this is the world’s oldest profession. It’s not necessarily malevolent; it’s ignorant. I think there’s a cultural piece that needs to be overcome. Judges need to be educated. I’ve been asked so many times: Did the children make any money? Was this consensual? I’m like, if you’re a minor, it’s rape.

A New Movie Spotlights the Teenagers Working to Expose Child Sex Trafficking FEBRUARY 9, 2017 JULIA FELSENTHAL

“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” Child Sex Trafficking in California 3 FEBBRAIO 2017

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“TrafficKing” Conchita Sarnoff exposes billionaire pedophile Jeffrey E. Epstein AUGUST 21, 2016

Inside the horrors of human trafficking (360° video) 30 NOVEMBRE 2016

Porn Industry and The (In)Human Trade 25 NOVEMBRE 2016

The Business of Child Sexual Abuse 2 7 NOVEMBRE 2016

CHILD RAPISTS 55 8 febbraio 2017

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CHILD RAPISTS 53 5 febbraio 2017

TEEN RAPISTS 9 9 febbraio 2017

TEEN RAPISTS 8 7 febbraio 2017

TEEN RAPISTS 7 2 febbraio 2017

SERIAL RAPISTS 14 9 febbraio 2017

Porn Addicted Rapists 27 7 febbraio 2017

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CHILD PORN ADDICTION 2 31 gennaio 2017

Abusi sessuali e pedopornografia, arrestato catechista pedofilo 4 febbraio 2017

Orrore Pedofilia: neonati abusati sessualmente 31 DICEMBRE 2016

Brutal child torture porn maker arrested 27 gennaio 2017

Serial child rapist abused more than 100 kids over decades 29 dicembre 2016

Videotaped gang-rape of missing teen shared online in Jamaica 9 febbraio 2017

72-year-old man raped 11-yr-old girl after showing porn to the child 9 febbraio 2017

Mom raped at knifepoint into her home 9 febbraio 2017

15-year-old girl gang-raped by 4 youths 9 febbraio 2017

Protest against child rape in South Africa 9 febbraio 2017

7-year-old girl raped, tortured, killed 9 febbraio 2017

Two-year old baby raped by her uncle found dead in Myanmar 9 febbraio 2017

140 rapes, over 200 molestation cases in Delhi in January 8 febbraio 2017

Man raped 10-year-old mentally ill girl 8 febbraio 2017

16-year-old girl gang-raped by 3 teens at a motel in Maine 8 febbraio 2017

30-year-old man raped sleeping 74-year-old woman 8 febbraio 2017

16-year-old girl raped, killed by her boyfriend 8 febbraio 2017

Students drugged, raped at fraternity houses 8 febbraio 2017

Woman teacher raped 15-year-old student Woman teacher raped 15-year-old student

26-year-old woman drugged, raped 13-year-old boy 8 febbraio 2017

6-year-old girl raped by 44-year-old man 8 febbraio 2017

12-year-old girl raped by 3 men 8 febbraio 2017

32-year-old American woman raped by a yoga teacher in Goa 8 febbraio 2017

4-year-old raped, filmed by 20-year-old woman 7 febbraio 2017

Abusi sessuali sulla figlia di sei anni e pedopornografia 7 febbraio 2017

2 teens gang-raped 5-year-old girl after watching pornography 6 febbraio 2017

Schoolgirl raped, filmed by teacher 6 febbraio 2017

5-year-old girl raped twice by 15-year-old neighbour 6 febbraio 2017

Outrage in India over rape-murder of 17-year-old Dalit girl 6 febbraio 2017

17-year-old girl cuts off man's penis after attempted rape 7 FEBBRAIO 2017

15-yr-old mentally challenged girl raped by two in Delhi 5 febbraio 2017

15-year-old girl abducted, raped for a month 5 febbraio 2017

8-month-old baby girl raped in Bihar  5 febbraio 2017

12-year-old girl drugged, raped, killed, thrown into a canal 4 febbraio 2017

15-year-old girl committed suicide after horrific gang rape and bullying 4 FEBBRAIO 2017

12-year-old russian girl raped, thrown into the shaft 3 febbraio 2017

19-year-old girl raped in a park in Glasgow 2 febbraio 2017

17-year-old girl raped, strangled to death 2 febbraio 2017

9-year-old girl raped in Rampura 2 febbraio 2017

Woman raped, forced to sleep with 17 men a day 2 febbraio 2017

Girl’s death after gang rape sparks protests in Bharatpur 1 febbraio 2017

11-year old girl gang-raped by 4 men 1 febbraio 2017

21-year-old woman gang-raped by 3 men in a moving car 1 febbraio 2017

13-year-old boy raped, filmed by 4 teens 31 gennaio 2017

10-year-old boy raped by 5 men 31 gennaio 2017

2 women gang-raped by 10 robbers 30 gennaio 2017

25-year-old woman gang-raped, filmed, by 10 men 30 gennaio 2017

3-year-old girl raped, critically injured, by 21-year-old man 30 gennaio 2017

17-Year-Old Blind Girl Gang-Raped For 3 Days 30 gennaio 2017

Studentessa 25enne stuprata in strada a Firenze 29 gennaio 2017

16-year-old girl kidnapped, gang-raped, killed 29 gennaio 2017

"Justice for Dika" College students protest Dalit minor's rape, murder 28 gennaio 2017

Facebook rape gang jailed for 44 years 28 gennaio 2017

Gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl videotaped, shared online in Haiti 27 gennaio 2017

15-year-old girl gang-raped, filmed by 2 teens 23 gennaio 2017

Facebook Live Gang Rape 23 gennaio 2017

Gang-rape video of 16-year-old Somali girl shared on Facebook 18 gennaio 2017

11-year-old girl gang-raped, filmed in Brazil 16 gennaio 2017

17-year-old girl kidnapped, gang-raped, filmed in moving vehicle 22 gennaio 2017

22-year-old teacher raped by headmaster, video shared on social media 22 gennaio 2017

6-year-old girl raped by 2 teachers after forced to watch pornography 21 gennaio 2017

5-year-old girl raped, murdered, body found in a drain 26 gennaio 2017

10-year-old girl raped, strangled to death 25 gennaio 2017

5-year-old girl raped by 15-year-old neighbour 23 gennaio 2017

81-year-old woman raped by 48-year-old man 22 gennaio 2017

10-year-old girl gang-raped by 7 minors 22 gennaio 2017

7-year-old girl gang-raped, murdered, 3 arrested 20 gennaio 2017

6-year-old girl raped, tortured in Karachi 19 gennaio 2017

Brutal rape, murder of Franziska Blöchliger 19 gennaio 2017

7-month-old child raped by her grandfather 19 gennaio 2017

18-year-old girl raped, murdered 19 gennaio 2017

60-year-old woman gang-raped by 4 youngsters 18 gennaio 2017

3-and-a-half-year-old child raped by 59-year-old neighbour 18 gennaio 2017

Schoolgirl gang-raped by teachers fights for life 18 gennaio 2017

12-year-old student gang-raped by principal and 3 teachers 16 gennaio 2017

5-year-old girl raped by 55-year-old man 17 gennaio 2017

4-year-old girl raped inside National Security Guard campus 17 gennaio 2017

16-year-old girl raped, strangled to death in Afghanistan 17 GENNAIO 2017

Donna disabile stuprata nel bagno di un bar, arrestato trentenne 16 gennaio 2017

Mentally disabled woman raped by 2 cops 16 gennaio 2017

Child rapist burnt to death 16 gennaio 2017

Serial paedophile, child rapist arrested in Delhi 16 gennaio 2017

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