Human trafficking survivors caution that trafficking continues despite Backpage shutting down

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 09:32:39-04

A trial date of January has been set for the founders of Backpage -- that has been synonymous with human trafficking. The feds shut down the website in April.

Founders Michael Lacey, James Larkin and five other employees are facing charges federal authorities said was a scheme to publish ads for sex and launder money. All have pleaded not guilty.

Windie Lazenko and Amanda Forrest both survived human trafficking, Now they are on the front lines to fight against the exploitation of other victims.

They said, while taking down Backpage is a step in the right direction, it is the demand that fuels human sex trafficking.

"A lot of people are misinformed about the closing down of Backpage and Craigslist," said Lazenko. "Our fight hasn't ended. It has caused us more challenges."

The fight to shut Backpage down took years. Meanwhile, both women said traffickers have been working on opening other avenues.

"They are not stupid; that is the unfortunate part," said Forrest. "As long as people are buying, traffickers are going to find a way to supply that demand."

"There are other websites," said Lazenko. "I'm not going to give those away to the community, but we are able to use those as resources -- like we did with Backpage -- to locate missing girls."

President Trump signed a bill into law in April giving people the right to file lawsuits against websites that support human trafficking.

Coming up on Wednesday, we'll take an in-depth look at a survivor's story.