Facebook Sued By Houston Victim Of Human Trafficking

Barbara Schwarz
October 03, 2018 - 7:35 am
Facebook

(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

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HOUSTON (1080 KRLD) - Social media giant Facebook is being sued by a woman who was brutally attacked by a so called Facebook "friend" in Houston. 

"Jane Doe" was 16 in 2012.  The 'friend' had repeatedly messaged her to say she was "pretty enough to be a model" and offered her a modeling job.  He also promised her financial security and a better life through modeling.  

Attorney Annie McAdams says the girl didn't know this person and after awhile the praise died down. "As with most of the cases with these predators. They start to groom by complimenting, and then they are very patient as they were with Jane Doe's case."

One day the teen had a fight with her mother and decided to take her "friend" up on his offer.

McAdams says "within about an hour, he was there to pick her up. She thought this was a legitimate job offer. Within about two hours, she was forced to have sex with a man."

McAdams says the girl says police were able to rescue the girl within 72 hours. "What this particular Jane Doe went though was one of the most extraordinarily violent interactions I've seen among all my Jane Doe cases. She was brutally beaten and raped repeatedly by multiple Johns. It's taken her some time to recover."

She says woman participated in numerous criminal trials associated with the attacks and is still on the path to recovery, but is forever changed.

She says Facebook for over a decade has been providing predators a virtually unrestricted platform to prey on victims. "If you're profiting from connecting people, you are going to be required to protect these individuals that you connect. It's our belief that the evidence in this case is going to show that Facebook knowingly facilitated human trafficking."

She says it takes about 12 steps on Facebook to get to the warning about human trafficking.

"It's very important that parents understand the dangers that exist and to be vigilant."

The lawsuit also names Backpage.com. McAdams says before the teen was picked up, a Backpage page had already been created for the girl, using pictures from her social media account.

Legal and trafficking experts say it may be difficult for the lawsuit to show that Facebook knowingly facilitated human trafficking.