AG Healey Files Brief in Appeals Court Regarding Lawsuit Against Backpage.com
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit urging the court to reverse a district court decision dismissing a case filed by human trafficking victims against Backpage.com.
The case, Doe v. Backpage.com LLC, was filed by three women who allege that they were sold for sex on Backpage.com when they were as young as 15 years old. The plaintiffs allege that they were recruited by sex traffickers, advertised on the website, and then repeatedly sold for sex in various locations across Massachusetts.
“Human trafficking is a form of criminal enterprise in which women and girls in particular, but also men and boys, are exploited for labor and commercial sex. It is a widespread and urgent problem in Massachusetts and throughout the country,” AG Healey’s brief explains.
AG Healey has vowed to make fighting human trafficking and providing victims with the services they need a priority of the office. The AG’s Office has a dedicated Human Trafficking Division that handles criminal prosecutions and has charged 21 individuals in connection with human trafficking to date.
The Attorney General’s Office has been aggressive in its efforts to tackle the problem of human trafficking and led efforts to pass comprehensive human trafficking legislation in 2011. The law mandated an interagency task force made up of 19 organizations, including human trafficking survivors, law enforcement, victim services advocates, academia, and state agencies, which made recommendations to the Legislature in August 2013. To further the work of the task force, the AG’s Office has continued to work with specialized teams focused on implementation of the recommendations made in the report.
This matter was handled by Genevieve Nadeau, Deputy Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division.