Facebook has an unprecedented amount of power to bring people together from all around the world. But that also means the platform can be easily abused by bad guys. That’s why a human trafficking survivor from Texas is suing Facebook and claiming the company enables trafficking.
According to the woman’s lawsuit, she was friended on Facebook when she was 15 years old by a man connected to a few of her friends. Eventually, she met the stranger in real life, and he allegedly pressed her into sex trafficking within hours. The woman’s attorney said she was then raped and beaten by people who had paid the trafficker. The suit goes on to claim that Facebook did not do enough to verify the trafficker’s identity, and that the woman (then a minor) was not warned of the dangers of sex traffickers on the platform.
“[Facebook is the] first point of contact between sex traffickers and these children,” the lawsuit states. “Facebook not only provides an unrestricted platform for these sex traffickers to target children, but it also cloaks the traffickers with credibility.”
This lawsuit arrives at an interesting time in U.S. policy on the issue of trafficking. President Trump signed a law in April that could result in more consequences for online platforms that host traffickers, so this case could be one of the first to test it in a big way. And Facebook could find itself on the losing end of yet another legal controversy.