“I Am Jane Doe”

Documentary “I Am Jane Doe” centralizes on three female victims of child sex trafficking on Backpage.com and their combat against the Common Decency Act


Depiction of the dehumanizing effects of child sex trafficking (Photo via Flickr under the Creative Commons License).

   “I am Jane Doe.” “I am Jane Doe.” “I am Jane Doe.” 26% of them are children. 55% are women and girls. The popularity of child sex trafficking continues to rise as the accessibility of purchasing children, such as on the website Backpage.com, is compared to the simplicity of ordering takeout.

  This child abuse is sparked by runaway and homeless children, typically middle school and early high school aged, who are targeted by pimps that feed off their low self esteem and seduce them with drugs. Provocative photos with catchy taglines are then posted on websites for purchase, primarily to male adults. Through this sex trafficking, children are being raped approximately twenty times a day, and the profits are going to pimps. While Backpage.com also benefits as 80% of their online traffic is for the adult section.  

  The documentary centralizes on the three victims and the victims’ mothers who issue lawsuits against Backpage.com for the allowing of child sex trafficking to occur on their website. Through the continuous legal battles, Backpage.com is issued not guilty by the courts due to Section 230 of the Common Decency Act that, “provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an ‘interactive computer service’ who publish information provided by others.”

  The mothers of these victims and anti-child sex trafficking organizations continue to fight for justice due to the loss of innocence of these young females that returned home with the drug addictions, distorted views of sex, and mental and physical abuse requiring a plethora of psychologist and doctors.

  After of six years of fighting, some success is achieved when the court system acknowledges Backpages.com’s efforts to change taglines in order to blur the lines if the individual being sold was underage. Creating much relief for the victims and their families, but an indication at the major adjustments to U.S. laws and constitutions with the new age of technology. While simultaneously questioning the morality of those operating these online goldmines. Returning to the victims’ question for the operators of Backpage.com, “What if it were your daughter?”

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