Updates on the Backpage Trial
The founders of Backpage — Michael Lacey and James Larkin — returned to federal trial on February 22, 2022. Many sex workers remember Backpage as a classified website which, like Craigslist, they used to connect with clients. In 2018, the US Justice Department seized Backpage and shuttered the site.
Lacey, Larkin, and five Backpage employees were charged with money laundering and facilitating prostitution: note, they are not being charged with sex trafficking. In September 2021, a US District judge declared a mistrial on the grounds that the prosecution relied too heavily on testimony from victims of sexual abuse, despite the fact that no one in this case was charged with human trafficking or child trafficking.
We’ll be keeping a close watch on this story as the trial unfolds.