More Police Admitting That FOSTA/SESTA Has Made It Much More Difficult To Catch Pimps And Traffickers

from the i-mean,-who-could-have-predicted-it... dept

Prior to the passage of SESTA/FOSTA, we pointed out that -- contrary to the claims of the bill's suppporters -- it would almost certainly make law enforcement's job much more difficult, and thus actually would help human traffickers. The key: no matter what you thought of Backpage, it cooperated with law enforcement. And, law enforcement was able to use it to track down traffickers using online services like Backpage. Back in May we noted that police were starting to realize there was a problem here, and it appears that's continuing.

Over in Indianapolis, the police have just arrested their first pimp in 2018, and it involved an undercover cop being approached by the pimp. The reporter asks why there have been so few such arrests, and the police point the finger right at the shutdown of Backpage:

The cases, according to Sgt. John Daggy, an undercover officer with IMPD’s vice unit, have just dried up.

The reason for that is pretty simple: the feds closed police’s best source of leads, the online personals site Backpage, earlier this year.

“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said. “I get the reasoning behind it, and the ethics behind it, however, it has blinded us. We used to look at Backpage as a trap for human traffickers and pimps.”

Got that? Just as we noted, Backpage was an incredibly useful tool for police to find human traffickers and pimps. And... thanks to do gooders insisting that Backpage was to blame, now Backpage is gone, and the police can't find the traffickers and pimps any more.

This does not seem like the way to stop trafficking. It seems like the way to make it more difficult for law enforcement to stop it.

“With Backpage, we would subpoena the ads and it would tell a lot of the story,” Daggy said. “Also, with the ads we would catch our victim at a hotel room, which would give us a crime scene. There’s a ton of evidence at a crime scene. Now, since [Backpage] has gone down, we’re getting late reports of them and we don’t have much to go by.”

The article is quite long and detailed -- and, somewhat incredibly -- even gets Sgt. Daggy to admit that he used to complain about Backpage, and then realized how useful it was as a police tool:

Shortly after Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, Daggy was invited to give a presentation at the Conference of Attorneys General.

“I was badmouthing Backpage big time,” he said, “because, you know, we were getting all of our arrests off there. We made over 60 arrests and caught four human trafficking cases during the Super Bowl.”

After he presented, Daggy says the website’s lawyer came up to speak to him.

“She came up to me and said, ‘You know, if we shut down, the ads will go offshore and someone else will pick them up,’” Daggy said.

That’s when Daggy started viewing Backpage as a trap – a useful tool for police trying to find victims who rarely self-report, and perpetrators who rarely come out in the open.

Of course, I'm still waiting to hear what all those people who supported SESTA/FOSTA have to say about all of this. Where is Amy Schumer, who put out a PSA in favor of SESTA/FOSTA, now that police are admitting that it's putting women's lives at risk, and that they're no longer able to track down and stop traffickers. Where are all the moralizing people who just happened to also be magically connected to the Hollywood studios who have always wanted to attack CDA 230, but suddenly found a "cause" to use in saying they needed to open up CDA 230 to stop sex trafficking. You guys made a problem much, much worse.


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Jul 2018 @ 2:02pm

    We should really learn that sometimes, just because it it popular doesn't mean it is good.

    The bill to allow the 9/11 survivors to sue Saudi Arabia, flew through Congress even with Congresspeople saying it wouldn't do anything because of international law. But the fear of being portrayed as against the survivors families made everyone sign off on a law that will do nothing but increase the heartache of these families when the government mislead and failed them yet again.

    Everyone wants headlines about trafficking and pimps being stopped, so lets twist the law into a pretzel to shut it down. We violated the law, we are trying to hold 3rd parties responsible, we're getting sex workers killed, exploited kids have no cops seeing them... was any of this worth the headlines? Probably yes because the public's attention span is about how long it takes to click like on facebook, so they will ignore the few 'isolated' cases where this worked against authorities until we get a trendy story with a cute blond white girl who is the victim then the outrage will be there. (Also isn't it disgusting that until it happens to a little white girl it isn't really a problem?)

    Sometimes bad things are bad & no law can fix it.
    Sometimes the law to fix is worse than the bad thing.
    Sometimes we have a system that works well, but baby needs a new pair of shoes to run for Congress so she'll waste millions of dollars & annoy courts to get good headlines, because no one reads the follow up story that is always on page 28 of section K in 2pt print.

    WE HAVE NO ACTUAL NUMBERS ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING. (period full stop)
    There has been no independent study made, all of the cited numbers come from flawed data gathering & lets just multiply by 45 because we know we didn't see everything.

    Without their websites there is an actual growing bodycount of actual dead people who end up with bad clients.
    While not popular, decriminalization of sex work should happen.
    No matter how many times the bible belt screams about it, I'll just point out how many of their leaders have been caught with hookers.
    If everyone involved is of age & willing why do we care?
    If we restored the websites, they would be safer & the bad guys would be forced to use other platforms making them easier prey... and if that website is based in the US oh hey our law applies!!!!!!! And if we stop demonizing the websites perhaps they would consider resuming their assistance to Law Enforcement, which they offered freely before they were declared to be responsible for everything.

    If you don't like sex workers, don't use their services.
    They all aren't little foriegn children transported here against their will, many of them chose to do the work.
    Every single sex worker who saw a pimp turning out kids, would turn that bastard in (this would be more likely if the cops couldn't arrest them & demand sex as they often do now with the stupid ass laws).

    Sometimes adults do things we don't agree with, but lets stop pretending our moral wants should legally be enforced on others.

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