Salesforce Accused of Helping Sex Traffickers Exploit Women

Salesforce is facing legal action by 50 anonymous women, who have identified themselves as survivors of sex trafficking, and are seeking unspecified damages against the tech giant. The customer relations management (CRM) company has been accused of “sex trafficking, negligence and conspiracy” for creating the strategy that aided the notorious website Backpage build its brand.

The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, alleges that billionaire Marc Benioff’s company was complicit in supporting the now-obsolete Backpage by providing customized database tools to market and remarket prostitutes to “pimps, johns and traffickers who had been underusing its trafficking services.”

Salesforce started working with Backpage in 2013, around the time 47 U.S. state attorney generals called the website a “hub of human trafficking.” Apparently, the public has an issue with the discovery because as of Wednesday, publicly-traded Salesforce stock shares fell by 4%.

The 50 women hail from such places as: Sacramento, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Fresno, Seattle, Anchorage, Phoenix, Chicago, New Orleans, Bangor, Minneapolis, Staten Island and Jacksonville.

They have alleged that they were kept in sexual slavery by pimps who used Backpage ads.

“Salesforce knew the scourge of sex trafficking because it sought publicity for trying to stop it. But at the same time, this publicly traded company was, in actuality, among the vilest of rogue companies, concerned only with their bottom line,” the suit alleges. “And human beings—many more than just these 50—were raped and abused because of it.”

“The Jane Does were forced, coerced, and made victims of sex trafficking by means of force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to themselves and others, including family members,” the lawsuit claims. “Salesforce committed acts at issue with malice, oppression, fraud, and duress.”

Salesforce, which has never participated in the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies competition, is denying the claims, issuing a statement on Tuesday: “We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously.”

In April of 2018, Backpage was finally shutdown after co-founder Michael Lacey was arrested for promoting prostitution by running ads for sexual services and laundering revenue from the site. Federal agents  seized the website as part of an enforcement action by the FBI.

Backpage had shut down its adult section a year earlier. Lacey, Larkin and other Backpage executives had testified at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing. The men refused to answer questions.

The types of ads that had appeared in the adult section of Backpage — with their racy photos — migrated to the singles section. A federal law held websites accountable for knowingly facilitating human trafficking while ads were restricted to a phone number, photos and links to other websites.

Backpage had also been associated with the murders of young Black women who met strangers on the site.

It had a reputation for being a dangerous site for women and girls. About 73% of sex trafficking victims were known to be associated with the devious site.

Salesforce chose to do business with a company that didn’t protect women and girls, and that negates any claim of “advocacy” for women.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    AJ – I wish you could have talked to my old comrade and brother in Christ, Frank P. Zeidler, Milwaukee’s most recent Socialist mayor, who became a Socialist because he was a Christian and sought a way to put the Christ’s teachings into practice in politics.

  2. Finally reporting on a topic (outside of one-sided political viewpoints).
    This is part of the True “Human” Evil acts that are going on Globally.
    I’m still out here wearing my “Conservative/Christian” tin hat.
    (I hope Mr. V continues to poke fun at me and others for trying to expose this and other evils)

    We should be living under the 10 Factors of Common Law – (Not just Political, or Personal Preferences), which means: Human Rights supercedes Civil Rights and personal preferences…
    Ponder that for a while…(Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if this site supports “Socialism” and Global Government). Government (Mind Control) doesn’t work; and, it eliminates True “Biblical” Freedom; and promotes “Slavery”. Green New Deal = Socialism (Packaged in a wonderful sounding Title)…(It’s not Green, it’s not New, and it’s Definitely not a Deal – that benefits the Human Race)
    Hope and Pray these evil networks and their supporters are caught

    • Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      AJ, you need to put down the koolaide.

      Social Security, Medicaid and civil service/military pensions and healthcare for life (after retirement in their mid-forties) are all examples of socialism.
      The dotard party needs to cut benefits because the billionaire tax cut resulted in a ballooning deficit.

      They’re telling you red state laggards that socialism is bad (because it goes to brown people), when the tax cut was really socialism for billionaires.

      Wilbur Ross and the Murdoch family are laughing at you. trump would be laughing, but he’s too busy trying to get his pants over his giant two scoops of ice cream mid-section.

      Seriously, it’s good to hear from you; we agree on the morality of Salesforce CEO Benioff, who is really the biggest pimp in United States history.

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