Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt
Google has once again turned heads this week, because of its sexist and misogynistic treatment of employees. But let’s not forget that Google’s mistreatment of women extends far beyond its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. Their lobbyists are working hard to protect laws that encourage online sex trafficking–and the exploitation of girls and women.
Backpage.com is a key player in online sex trafficking–providing a hub where traffickers can advertise children for sex. That’s despicable. Yet third-party facilitators of sex trafficking like Backpage.com remain protected under the law, specifically Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
Backpage.com has been dodging legal challenges to their illicit conduct, and Google has swooped to their defense. Areport by Consumer Watchdog indicates that Google has contributed millions of dollars to the defense of Backpage. All of this legal work hinges on the protection of Section 230 of the CDA–which supports Google’s corporate interests. Now Google is sending their lobbyists to Capitol Hill, to persuade lawmakers to stay away from this precious piece of the law.
Shame on Google: it’s clear they’ve chosen again and again to put corporate priorities before the safety of girls and women. Their endorsement of Section 230 of the CDA says that they are more than happy to condone child sex trafficking if it furthers their goals. If they’re not resisting injustice, they’re committing it.
Well, NOW’s grassroots activists are ready to resist. Congress needs to amend this dangerous law that allows online sexual exploitation to go unchecked. So we’ll be marching into our representatives’ offices with a simple demand: don’t listen to Google. Change Section 230 of the CDA to make sure that it protects women–not corporations.
M.E. Ficarra, firstname.lastname@example.org, 951-547-1241