Florida Attorney General takes lead on sex trafficking battle
BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBS12) —
Women are being used as sex slaves and it could be happening in your own neighborhood.
Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi, is joining the fight--in fact taking a lead role--going after the websites that connect people to illegal sex.
CBS12 spoke to a woman who rescues victims, she is encouraged by this new effort.
She says for too long, sex in a backroom has been a click and a phone call away, with Backpage.com being the proverbial phone book.
Attorney General Pam Bondi wants to throw the book at it.
"In Palm Beach County, you probably live within 10 miles of a modern day slave," said Becky Dymond.
Dymond runs the Hebzibah House in Boynton Beach, a place where those who escape the sex trade can get treatment, get their lives in order, get the strength they need to face the world again.
"[I tell victims] I submit to you, you were not a prostitute, you couldn't keep the money, you couldn't get away if you wanted to, you were trafficked," Dymond said.
Now Dymond is glad to see a letter to congress is calling for change in the laws. Pam Bondi's signature is at the top.
Bondi and attorney generals from the 49 other states want to remove the long standing protections for websites.
Websites aren't legally responsible for user generated content, so the website managers and editors have no worries if messages are advertising sex.
Becky says for years sites have used tricks and clever wording:
"Backpage is the one I hear the most about, of course they shut down 'adult services' and now they have 'women seeking men'-- why do you think the women are seeking men because if I don't bring home my quota I'm going to get beat," Dymond said.
CBS12 reached out to Backpage.com's corporate office for their comment on this, we did not hear back.
Attorney General Bondi says Florida's zero tolerance towards trafficking needs to be nation-wide and online.