Salesforce sued over dealings with sex trafficking site

50 plaintiffs claim the CRM specialist helped grow the now defunct criminal website Backpage.com

Salesforce is facing a lawsuit which alleges the company profited from and knowingly facilitated sex trafficking on now-defunct website Backpage.com.

The suit has been filed by 50 anonymous women who claim to be victims and survivors of sex trafficking, abuse and rape as a result of the activity that was taking place on Backpage.com, a website that used Salesforce software during its operation.

Ironically, the lawsuit points to the Silicon Valley CRM giant's publicly promoted anti-human trafficking campaign at the time of its work with Backpage.

"Salesforce knew the scourge of sex trafficking because it sought publicity for trying to stop it," according to documents filed in the Superior Court in San Francisco. "But at the same time, this publicly traded company was, in actuality, among the vilest of rogue companies, concerned only with their bottom line."

Salesforce started working with Backpage in 2013, right around the time the website's numbers began to fall and the human trafficking accusations piled up, prompting loud calls from social and legal bodies to have the site pulled offline.

A spokesperson from Salesforce said that while the company is unable to comment on ongoing litigation, it is "deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously".

The core argument from the legal filing contends that Salesforce publicly campaigned against human rights violations while privately supplying software to Backpage, the claim being that such services provided the "backbone of Backpage's exponential growth". It also claims that Salesforce "designed and implemented a heavily customised enterprise database tailored for Backpage's operations".

Backpage was seized by the FBI in April 2018 after investigations showed that it was guilty of harbouring human traffickers on its site who targeted adults and children.

The site was widely used like the popular Craigslist whereby users posted ads and listings to sell items, advertise rental homes and jobs but also had an 'adult services' section where the crimes took place.

Backpage's CEO Carl Ferrer faces five years in prison and is due to be sentenced in July.

Featured Resources

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Recommended

AWS Network Firewall provides network protection across all workloads
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS Network Firewall provides network protection across all workloads

18 Nov 2020
Deutsche Telekom’s net-based LAN service aims to transform network management
cloud computing

Deutsche Telekom’s net-based LAN service aims to transform network management

18 Nov 2020
Hackers are increasingly reaping the benefits of the cloud
Security

Hackers are increasingly reaping the benefits of the cloud

16 Nov 2020
Deloitte launches four new industry-specific cloud solutions
Cloud

Deloitte launches four new industry-specific cloud solutions

12 Nov 2020

Most Popular

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud
Security

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud

18 Nov 2020
macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks
operating systems

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks

16 Nov 2020
46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach
Security

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach

13 Nov 2020