Polaris released the following statement today after the U.S. federal government seized Backpage.com. Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, said:
“The seizure of Backpage.com and its affiliated websites is a major victory and milestone in the fight against sex trafficking. Shutting down the largest online U.S. marketplace for sex trafficking will dramatically reduce the profitability of forcing people into the commercial sex trade, at least in the short term. Traffickers will have to rethink their business models and sex buyers will face greater risk. The flow of easy money will slow and, as a result, fewer vulnerable people will be bought and sold against their will. This action also makes clear that no one, not even a multi-million dollar media company, is above the law. By toppling this industry’s leader, law enforcement has put businesses on notice that they will not be able to hide behind feigned ignorance in pursuit of profit and will be held liable for actively facilitating human trafficking.
“Polaris applauds the survivor leaders, advocates, law enforcement officials, elected leaders and countless others with whom we have been fighting for more than a decade to shut down online sex trafficking.
“While overall we celebrate shutting down Backpage.com, we also recognize that such a dramatic shift in the marketplace starting tonight will bring with it a cascade of unintended consequences, especially for sex trafficking victims. We will be engaging survivors and vulnerable individuals in the days and weeks ahead to begin to understand how to mitigate the worst of these consequences and most effectively provide support through the National Human Trafficking Hotline.”