I just visited the site - backpage.com - nothing seems to stop these people from allowing these types of ads on their site. And, understandably - human trafficking is becoming the fastest growing business world-wide. If you can imagine - starting a website and simply sitting back (at home in a chair) and watching the money roll in - knowing that there is no need to hire moderators or even give a care what is posted. In fact, it is better for owners and hosts to 'not' be aware - since they cannot be held liable for the affects of what is posted by third parties. And, the more that policies/terms of service limit what posters can and can't post puts a huge damper on 'business'. Sites/groups/hosts learn quickly that the more they 'limit' members 'freedom of speech', the more often members will leave to go where they are free to do as they please. And, in order to continue doing as they please, they bash/torment/threaten whomever is trying to keep safety alive on the internet.
Few even want to really take a look at these facts and trends. Few realize that sites like even facebook are are not responsible and cannot be held liable for what is posted on their site - there is no need for moderation. And, people do post anonymously - even though their tos clearly states that is not allowed. But, there is no reason to enforce - since, again - regardless of the tos - the company is not liable for anything posted by third-parties - according to the law. This is true within every site and host. So, if human trafficking (or any illegal activity) is happening on a site - the company/owner/host CANNOT be held responsible or liable. Who can be held responsible - NO ONE -
So, if you go to say a support site - or even to facebook or other social media - and you are befriended by someone who is looking for an easy target - and, you meet them for coffee and find yourself kidnapped - if you ever get free, you can not hold that site or even its members liable for the crime - unless, of course, you know their true information - which they will never give you.
I agree that this is sort of like being 'street-smart' and also 'internet savvy' - which I contend that 99% of the people on the net and/or in-real-life are not. I don't think that people can actually comprehend what is happening - or possibly, they are in denial that it does happen so often.
Imagine that someone sees the benefit of how much money they can make trafficking children. They simply kidnap them out of shopping malls, lure them through the net, etc. They keep them somewhere and advertise them on the web. No one ever sees these criminals or is able to track them - because they use anonymous names and proxies to advertise and make their money. They don't even need to leave their house. This is just to show how simple it is to misuse the internet. And, there is a huge market for 'human merchandise'. Once a victim realizes what happened - it is too late, and there is no recourse.
In my experience, most people seem to be willing to take the chance that all who are running sites and groups are doing so with the best interest of their members. And, the more persuasive members of groups become, the more other members are to trust them. And, the more the site grows the less apt owners are to enforce safety rules - for fear of their site becoming inactive. Most who participate in groups and social media are not even aware that laws, that are enforceable in-real-life are being broken all the time on the web.
It is illegal, for instance, to practice therapy without a license - but, it happens all the time on the internet. There is a reason for this law - so that the therapy is done by professionals - . If therapy is provided by a third party, there is no recourse for the member if things go awry - which they do all of the time. This is a simple example.
Without a clear understanding of what is happening and how it happens, it is clearly impossible to remain safe. Once people take some time to understand how both real-life and internet work together, they can take precautions to remain safe.
It is possible to utilize the law to keep yourself safe. The practice of remaining anonymous works both ways - it is a good practice until you meet someone in real-life or give your personal information to an unknown person. If you are actively participating in a group or on a site where there is illegal activity - including slandering others, bashing, bullying, etc. then, you are contributing to misuse of the internet that often leads to horrible situations - including human trafficking. Give people the license to offend .........
Most owners/admins don't even know that they are not liable or responsible for third-party posts - some do - but most, not. They find out by pushing the limits and never getting in trouble - a recipe for disaster.
If you are reading this then, YOU ARE a part of the world wide web. You are responsible for what goes on - not a mere observer. Every post made by anyone is setting the 'culture' of the internet. We allow anything to go on the internet, and well..... anything can happen without any limits to what people will 'sell'. The overall internet is a huge business for anyone - and, it's consumers are us. Buying a book on Amazon becomes no different than purchasing a child or believing slander, gossip, and lies - ruining people without thought. Someone is 'selling' and others are 'buying'.
We certainly can't just make this law disappear, but as consumers, it is time that we do set limits and how and what we will 'buy' whether it be with money or our self-dignity and knowledge of right from wrong. Remember that you are not controlled by owners/hosts of sites - their rules mean nothing - they are not responsible or liable for what happens within their sites. You must learn to think for yourself and make choices based on 'real' information and research - not what you hear or come to believe. The only recourse is that you run into people who are 'real' and care enough to run their sites ethically. How you know which are 'good', 'safe' sites is not what 'you hear' - you will not hear if someone happens to die or gets kidnapped, etc. If something happens within the site, those members just kind of disappear. The only way that you can 'know' is by researching. Is there a 'real' owner - using their real name? Who is this person? What is their credentials? You should easily and quickly be able to find this information. If not, RUN - something is amiss.
Don't freak out and run from the internet to safety. The internet can be a truly safe and wonderful place to meet people - when you do so with open eyes.
Never be afraid to contact owners/admins of sites and groups. Talk to them - are they willing to give their 'real-life' information? If not - run, again. You do not need to stay somewhere that is not safe - just because your 'friends' are there. Recognize when you have become 'addicted' to a site or group - this is a clear warning sign that you are in trouble.
So now, I am going back to try to warn - I apologize. Many years ago, I decided to move out of this 'corrupted' system. I decided to use my real name, make my personal information and myself accessible just like I do in-real-life. I do not frequent unsafe groups, websites, blogs, or social media. I have never been 'safer' than now. I don't recommend that for everyone.
Safe browsing -