Latest modern slavery fight updates - in Contempt?

  • Published on
    March 19, 2016
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
Hero Banner has continually failed to comply with the Senate-issued subpoena about a sex-trafficking investigation by citing its First amendment rights…

On Thursday, the Senate made a rare move with this subpoena.  According to the  Congressional Research Service, Senate contempt charges are very unusual steps.  The last action of this kind was 21 years ago when Bill Clinton was under Senate investigation regarding the Whitewater properties.  In fact, since passing its civil enforcement statute in 1979, contempt actions have only occurred on six occasions. has been accused of letting customers post ads for prostitutes, including children.  A Senate subpoena was issued in October 2015. Since that time, Backpage CEO, Carl Ferrer, has refused to answer questions, saying the First Amendment protects his company from doing so.  Counsel, Steve Ross, says, “The Senate Subcommittee believes that the First Amendment does not limit its activities with respect to  The company, and its legal counsel, disagrees.”

Leading senators, Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations calls the company the most important player in the commercial sex advertising market.  With an annual sales total of more than $150 million, $100 million of sales is generated from adult advertising.

Backpage claims to combat human trafficking, saying that it screens posts for illegal activities. But a subcommittee investigation found that Backpage helps to facilitate sex trafficking. For example, the site edits ads before they’re posted, often removing evidence of law-breaking in its “adult” classifieds, the probe determined. Backpage removes certain words from ads that would trip alarm bells, and it permanently deletes metadata from posts’ images that could allow law enforcement to determine who posted an illegal ad, according to the Senate investigation.

To read this entire article regarding these contempt charges, click on the link below.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Workers’ complaint filed against Saudia Arabia amid FIFA World Cup bid

AP News reports that a coalition of trade unions has lodged a formal complaint against Saudi Arabia, accusing the nation of severe human rights abuses. The complaint, submitted to the International Labor Organization (ILO), alleges mistreatment and wage theft affecting over 21,000 migrant workers over the past decade. This comes as FIFA prepares to finalize Saudi Arabia as the host of the 2034 World Cup. Building and Wood Workers’ International

| Wednesday June 5, 2024

Read more