x
Breaking News
More () »

Survivors have 'mixed emotions' to backpage.com shutdown

"We are going to see it go back to the old-fashioned way, and we'll see a lot of girls walking the streets."

When the FBI seized Backpage.com, it was a big day for Kyra Doubek.

"There's definitely a lot of mixed emotions within the survivor community right now," said Doubek. "The way that I look at it is that this is harmful. Period. End of story. Whether it's online, whether it's on the streets, whether it is in hotels or in cars, it doesn't matter. It's harmful."

Backpage.com was shutdown Friday. Federal authorities say the site is where sex traffickers advertised adults and children.

Today Doubek is an advocate, offering support to commercially sexually exploited children. At Kent Youth and Family Services, she helps survivors and those at risk, ages 12-25. More than five years ago, she was the one in need of help.

"It started when I was 15-years-old, and it happened off and on until I was 26," said Doubek.

She was never featured on Backpage.com, but she was advertised for sex on a similar website.

"This is in my heart and soul so deeply because there were times that people could have intervened when I was younger, and there were no interventions. There was no help," said Doubek.

Jennifer Tucker lives in Pierce County. She calls herself an overcomer.

"Survivor is like just barely hanging on, and I am not barely hanging on anymore," said Tucker.

Tucker says she left that life in 2016 but remembers the role Backpage used to play.

"It's booming for business, but it keeps the industry hidden. It took the girls off the streets and brought them indoors. You post an ad on Backpage and within 20-30 minutes you've gotten ten, fifteen, twenty calls," said Tucker,

She says each day was dangerous and often lonely.

"I think the government has turned a blind eye to it long enough. It is time for them to do something," said Tucker.

She is aware the website shutdown brings mixed emotions.

"It is bittersweet. We are going to see it go back to the old-fashioned way, and we'll see a lot of girls walking the streets," said Tucker.

Tucker and Doubek say the site shutdown is a huge step in the right direction.

"It's one less place that people will be harmed on," said Doubek.