Human Trafficking

I am on record as an optimist when it comes to the internet. The free flow of information on the web, including but not limited to websites like Above the Law, helps people make better decisions about their lives and careers (and also entertains, a value that shouldn’t be ignored).

At the same time, as we’ve discussed before, the web has its dark side….

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If you’ve ever wandered over to Backpage.com and spent a few minutes reviewing the classified ads there, you probably realized that you had just discovered the seedy underbelly of the internet. Rife with ads for adult services — which is arguably just an elegant way of saying prostitution — the website, owned by Village Voice Media, has come under fire for its association with human trafficking.

Leave it to the company’s general counsel, Elizabeth McDougall, to take a stand for these scandalous online ads. After all, it’s great business! Backpage reportedly has a 70% market share for prostitution ads in the United States, generating millions in revenue.

This week, McDougall is taking additional heat from state attorneys general for her statements in an off-color op-ed column published in the Seattle Times. What could she have said that was so controversial?

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* The hotel maid behind DSK’s extended stay in New York has now sued her alleged attacker. Remember, this is all about the truth. It has nothing to do with money. [CNN]

* Should you be worried about the stock market’s seppuku yesterday? If you like money, then probably. If you like your job as an M&A attorney, then definitely. [The Recorder]

* Illinois is giving sex trafficking victims the chance to vacate their prostitution convictions. Even if Reema Bajaj gets convicted, she still couldn’t use this law to clear her name. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Therapy dogs aren’t just for law school libraries anymore. Now they’re appearing in courtrooms. But is an adorable dog unfair to defendants? Only if you hate dogs… and justice. [New York Times]

* Frank McCourt is still on deck for his at bat with Bingham McCutchen. The good news is that the Dodgers can keep on sucking in the interim. [Los Angeles Times]

* We’re happy that the Breaking Media dress code doesn’t include “Tube-top Tuesday” and “Wet T-shirt Wednesday.” An employee in Utah claims she isn’t as lucky as us. [Salt Lake Tribune]