State Supreme Court rules against Backpage over online sex trafficking

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen reports.

SEATTLE - The Washington Supreme Court has ruled in favor of three young girls who sued Backpage.com after they were sold as prostitutes on the site.

Thursday's ruling says the Communications Decency Act does not protect Backpage from state lawsuits because of allegations that the company didn't just host the ads, but helped develop the content.

The lawsuit claimed Backpage.com markets itself as a place to sell "escort services" but actually provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works.

Backpage had filed a motion to dismiss the suit. A lower court denied that request and the company appealed, saying it was immune from liability.

But the Supreme Court says the case should proceed because the girls have alleged facts that, if proved, would show that Backpage helped produce illegal content.

Nicole, who did not want her last name punished, is the mother of one of the girls suing the company.

The family cried "tears of joy" when they heard the lawsuit could proceed.

Nicole said her daughter was, "Proud to be a part of it and wants to make sure this doesn't happen to the next girl."


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