The legal struggles of Quebec and U.S.A. with the sexual trafficking site Backpage.com

by Noon on February 17, 2016 - 5:08pm

The following will demonstrate the difference in legal battles between the Quebec judicial system and the U.S.A. judicial system with escorting/sex provider service site: Backpage.com

From: "Quebec girls, teens advertised for prostitution on U.S. site" by CBC News, I learned that the site "backpage.com" is providing escort services and "adult services" to consumers world-widely. It was stated within the article that girls as young as 14 years old may be seen on the web-site and could be hired for such services. The most disturbing information within this text is not only the fact that minors are openly sold for sex, but that this site is still running in motion. From the article it is stated that the police are aware of this site and that they have had some cases involving minors related to this web-site. It was also stated that the government of Quebec are not acting to bring forth laws against prostitution or human trafficking. "There is absolutely nothing being done as we speak" Maria Mourani, a former MP and criminologist told Radio-Canada. 

Although Backpage.com is not just a site about sexual services, due to the fact that it gives information on other services such as: transportation, food, social events. It still has that explicit section on sexual services. Intrigued on the article, I looked through the site myself to make sure that the information was indeed truthful. To my surprise, it actually was. Even though I did not get to the escort or sexual services in the adult section for ethical issues and school restriction, I was still able to browse the section of "Massage" in the adult section. The information was as described in the article. Although it was not clearly stated that it was "erotical" or "sexual" massages, the pictures of half-naked girls and  the propositions were worded in such a way that there was no possibilities of it being just a normal "massage" service. I decided to look forward into the matter by looking at other articles on the issue, mostly on those from the U.S. due to the fact, that the site originated from there.

I found out that in the United States, the courts are being more radical and are looking seriously into such matters. For example, from: "Man sentenced to 10 years for sex trafficking minors in Connecticut" by Jim Mckeever, in New Haven a Jamaican man was sentenced for more than 10 years for trafficking with the body of minors. The man was using modeling promises as the mean to lure the minors and then trapping them to use them for sexual services. He would advertise the pictures of the minors on sexual sites, Backpage.com being one of those, so that he could attract some clientele. Although prostitution is illegal, especially sexual trafficking of minors, it is difficult if the information contained within sites such as Backpage.com is really trafficking or is it voluntary prostitution.

I also found out from: "Dallas-based Backpage.com faces civil contempt charges in Senate sex-trafficking inquiry" by Elizabeth Koh that Backpage.com has actually being pursued for "refusing to disclose how it monitors its adult services ads for signs of sex trafficking." This means that Backpage.com does not collaborate with the state to point out the articles that are about trafficking. It was also proven that Backpage.com was helping their clients to "polish" their announcements so that it would seem as the sexual product provided is legal. Backpage.com argued that there site helps the law and police forces to catch criminals that actually commit to prostitution and trafficking, however it can also be argued, that this site is trying to protect their clientele and that in the case that this site would not exist, sex providers would have a less easy time to advertise their products.

The difference between Canada and the United States, is that there laws towards internet use and monitoring are different. In Canada, the state is more focused on the privacy of their citizens, and therefore have less harsh laws about internet monitoring. Compared to the United States, where people gave up on some of their internet privacy, that resulted in additional security. Therefore, a good way to help Canada fight sexual provider sites such as Backpage.com, would be to add laws that would give access to federal law-enforcing authorities to monitor these sites for any additional trouble.  

Sources:

www.backpage.com  (Warning, Backpage.com may have content not suited for a lower-aged viewer.)

"Quebec girls, teens advertised for prostitution on U.S. site" CBC NEWS, CBC News the National, Pub: Feb 11th 2016. Web. Acc: Feb 17th 2016.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-teens-backpage-prostitution-1.3443574

McKeever, James "Man sentenced to 10 years for sex trafficking minors in Connecticut", Fox News, Fox61, Pub: Feb 12th 2016. Web. Acc: Feb 17th 2016.

http://fox61.com/2016/02/12/man-sentenced-to-10-years-for-sex-trafficking-in-connecticut/

Koh, Elizabeth "Dallas-based Backpage.com faces civil contempt charges in Senate sex-trafficking inquiry" Dallas News, The Dallas Morning News, Pub: Feb 11th 2016. Web. Acc: Feb 17th 2016.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/washington/20160211-dallas-based-backpage.com-faces-civil-contempt-charges-in-senate-sex-trafficking-inquiry.ece

About the author

I am 19 years old
I am a student of Champlain College St-Lambert and I am in the Social Science World Studies Program.