NCMEC Urges Washington State Supreme Court To Allow Victims' Case Against Backpage To Be Heard

"I enjoy catering to mature gentlemen. My body is a gentleman's playground." - ad appearing on confirmed to be selling a child for sex, as cited in NCMEC's amicus brief

Sep 10, 2014, 10:15 ET from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sexually explicit language advertising the sale of children for sex is a common business practice for

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children filed an amicus brief urging the Washington State Supreme Court to allow three child sex trafficking victims to have their day in court against the online classified advertising website owned by Backpage LLC.

NCMEC's brief, filed in response to Backpage's motion to dismiss the victims' case, argues that Backpage enables the development of child sex trafficking ads on its site, which results in the repeated sexual exploitation and victimization of children.

In the past five years, NCMEC's Child Sex Trafficking Team has seen a 1,432-percent increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking. Today a majority of child sex trafficking ads reported to NCMEC involve ads posted on Clearly, it was not Congress' intent to protect online companies enabling the sale of children for sex when they enacted the Communications Decency Act in 1996.

Despite Backpage's knowledge that it has created a lucrative marketplace for child sex trafficking on its website, it has rejected most of NCMEC's recommendations to help reduce the selling and buying of children for sex on its website and has only made minimal efforts to curb the posting of child sexual exploitative content.

Child sex trafficking is a pervasive and destructive crime. NCMEC's amicus brief asks the court to allow the victims' case to move forward to assure the fair adjudication of a matter so greatly important to the safety of children across the United States.

NCMEC joined the Washington State Attorney General's Office and the following nonprofits in support of the child victims: National Crime Victim Law Institute, Shared Hope International, Covenant House, Human Rights Project for Girls, FAIR Girls, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. To read NCMEC's amicus brief and the other amicus briefs and underlying court papers, go here.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working with law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them on issues relating to missing and sexually exploited children. Authorized by Congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 199,000 children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline, a mechanism for reporting child pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 2.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than 120 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed. NCMEC works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, visit Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.

SOURCE The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children