Cover Image: Taking Down Backpage

Taking Down Backpage

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Member Reviews

A straight-forward and non-varnished look at the long legal battle to prosecute the men at the helm of Backpage, a website used for sex-trafficking and child exploitation. Lead prosecutor Maggy Krell shares here her tireless fight for justice for Backpage's victims and ends with her recommendations for the continued battle to protect the vulnerable and support the exploited. (Spoiler alert- education, health care and a social safety net are all crucial.)

I really enjoyed this book, and cheered with Krell when she and her team finally achieved their goals. I selfishly wish there had been a bit more detail and a "rounding out" of the story, but this is a solid project. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion, which I'm always happy to provide. My thanks to the author, publisher, and #NetGalley. #TakingDownBackpage
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A fascinating, insightful, and informative work highlighting sex trafficking on a major scale. The book has a strong legal slant, and the narrative is gripping as a memoir too.
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This book was written by a woman who was the lead prosecutor responsible for taking down the website "Backpage", which under a thin veneer of respectability, was really just acting as a pimp for international sex trafficking.  This book is about the author's experience and challenges in bringing Backpage down. 

The work that was done, and the impact that it had, is undeniably important to our society as a whole, and I'm extremely appreciative of what she went through to make it happen.  The political and legal hoops that she had to jump through were sadly much more challenging than one would hope for in a situation like this.

I feel like the author did a good job of explaining why it was so difficult, and in some cases even explained why the difficulty itself was a good thing because of the protections those difficulties provide to more innocent enterprises.  Some of the book got really bogged down into legalese, and would likely have been enjoyed by someone with a better legal background, but it was a little much for me.  I also wished that a bit more humanity could have been brought into the book - the victims and their families.  The one person who became very human in this book was her former mentor Dave, and I wish she could have provided that same "feel" for some of the other personalities that graced the pages of the book.

I also felt like in some cases the politics of the situation were just skimmed over.  She'd been battling for months/years to get funding, personnel, and support to go after Backpage, but was hitting delay after delay until suddenly for no apparent reason she got the greenlight right when Kamala Harris was running for Congress? We all know that this kind of stuff happens but it is part of the tragedy of our system that good causes can be swept under the rug until they're politically expedient to bring them to life.  How many women suffered for longer because of this lack of attention?

Overall, it was a good book - I got a much better understanding of how the law works in California, how the feds help (or not), and where interstate collaboration can be hugely beneficial. I'm very glad I took the time to read this book.  It just makes me wonder "who is the new Backpage" because the industry has not died, did we just move them farther underground?  What is the next big move in our battle against sex trafficking?

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley. This is my honest and voluntary review based on my reading.  #NetGalley, #TakingDownBackpage
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Maggy Krell decided in 2003 that prostitutes shouldn’t be arrested anymore. Instead, she wanted to go after the pimps and traffickers behind prostitution. It took 15 years, but her tireless work finally led to Backpage being seized by the government. 

This book was good, and it showcased a lot of things that were really wrong with our legal system. For instance, it’s appalling that the law used to allow people to traffic others online because of the First Amendment. That is not free speech. It’s a crime, and the Backpage owners were allowed to get away with it for years. 

There were some issues with repetition. However, it was a good read. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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There is a lot I could say about this book.  First, for transparency, I must confess that I have worked both Stateside and internationally since 2011 with those rescued out of the sex industry so I have first hand experience with similar stories to the women Krell defended.   

With that being said Krell did a really wonderful job of explaining the need for the changes in the law and sharing the women's highlight reel without further trauma.   I say that because in some of the reviews I have read some were disappointed that Krell didn't include more details regarding the women.  To request more details is to request further exploitation.  Instead of their bodies being exploited their stories become exploited for the sake of "good" or "awareness." Our awareness on this issue can't be at the sake of others stories.  These women could be easily traced since they stood on trial so fake names are just not enough.   I commend Krell for sharing just enough and setting boundaries that didn't directly impact the punch of the book.  This book is about the behind the scenes of taking down back page, it's not a story about the survivors themselves (as the title clearly states).

The only thing I didn't fully appreciate was the obvious political bias that was present, but Krell is completely allowed to share those views, I just prefer to keep it straight as it isn't just a republican or democrat issue but rather an issue as a whole society.  

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really liked this one, it’s an amazing story of a prosecutor who is a major advocate for victims of the sex trafficking trade. She decides to go after Backpage because of the ads they ran that became so commonplace for sexual encounters that contributed to the trafficking. She also knew that they were making a ton of money from it, and their normal ads were just window dressing, not real. It took a couple of years to identify the main people that owned and ran the Backpage site. She built one heck of a case against them, and I found it very inspiring. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Maggy Krell, and the publisher.
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Maggy Krell is a real one. This was a fantastic look at the persistence of a lawyer and her team at taking down an empire of bullshit that does so much damage in the community at large. 

As Apple is currently undergoing (yet stalling) in the implementation of features that would scan people's devices for child sex abuse images, they are experiencing more blowback than anyone would think possible at tech companies finally creating interventions that could potentially intercept the sexual exploitation of children everywhere. 

This book is a cohesive look at a woman's fight to hold these companies accountable for their crimes. It does lean more on Maggy Krell's personal narrative and experience prosecuting Backpage, but no doubt it was exhausting, necessary almost unmountable work. This was infinitely readable. I think Maggy Krell did a fantastic job of illustrating the importance of this work. She effectively highlights how the use of Backpage disproportionately affects immigrant newcomers, and North American Black women and girls. Krell highlights how the Justice system has largely criminalized these women and girls when they should be targeting the perpetrators, and those making millions of dollars through sexual exploitation and human trafficking. 

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read this work prior to its release in January 2022. I think it’s an incredibly necessary read, especially for those who have children growing up exposed to the Wild West of the Internet. 

Taking down Backpage doesn't eliminate the problem of human trafficking or the sexual exploitation of minors but it's a start. Learn what you can do today to support agencies fighting human trafficking in your state or province.
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I wasn't sure what to think before I started this book. It kept me interested from the first page which is not usually the case with most books. I was unaware of the many obstacles when building a case of this magnitude, There were so many hurdles, involving the constitutional issues, but the prosecutor remained tenacious and driven  to  make her case and bring the culprits to justice and save young women from sex slavery. I would highly recommend this book.
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I only recently learned about Backpage while listening to a podcast in which a sex worker bemoaned that it was no longer a platform she could use. While her story was hers to tell, I believed her story to be the exception and not the majority opinion.  I was curious to hear more about what Backpage was, how it came to be shut down and all the good work that is being done to eradicate, or at least slow down,  human trafficking in the US. I wanted to hear from survivors who were rescued from the horrors of this industry and read of those courageous crusaders who are working to make society safer for the most vulnerable.  This book seemed like a great place to start. 

I appreciated the author’s note at the beginning of this book. It was clear and engaging and brought an understanding of what this book would be about. I appreciated learning about her early work as a prosecutor and the many cases and many years that led to her advocacy for victims and her dedicated prosecution of this industry.  This book is definitely more about the legal process that led to the takedown, but I still found it rather fascinating, easy to read, and well put together. 

My thanks to NetGalley and NYU Press for this advance copy of Taking Down Backpage.
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This was a very interesting read full of legal terms and references. I was drawn in by the title but I did find it a little heavy going at times. Saying that it gave great insight into the seedy world of sex trafficking and how difficult it is to put a stop to those who are reaping unheard of rewards from this inhumane industry.
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Utterly unstoppable and compelling! I couldn’t stop reading! This book is essential for everyone to read. We need our children to know what they need to be careful of. I am so surprised that I really knew nothing.
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Interesting and important story. I agree with other reviewers that this would have been more effective as a piece of long form journalism rather than a full book.
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Eye opening, terrifying, yet told so well in a story that you are compelled to keep turning the pages and waiting for the relief of a positive conclusion. The author did well to communicate the depths to which companies, and their leadership, will justify anything for money. Very authentic, nothing over done. Excellent writing.
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I was excited to get my hands on this book as the subject of sex trafficking is of interest to me. However, I didn’t like it. It felt very short, superficial, and not especially well written. It honestly seemed better suited as an article. I would have enjoyed it more had the author included more of the victims’ stories.
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The subject matter of Taking Down Backpage is a necessary read for everyone. That being said, I think this would have been so much better as an in-depth multi-part magazine article. This was written very high level, so I think a condensed version would be a better read.

Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC for an honest review.
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A very detailed and complete account of the legal takedown of a company that abused human rights through trafficking of teens and desperate people. What it lacked in action and pace (it was a bit of a slog, to me), it made up for in its heartfelt compassion and thorough legal and criminal justice elements. Definitely a must-read in this legal, criminal justice niche.
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When we hear about Human Trafficking, so often it is associated with places like Thailand or India.  However, it occurs quite prevalently in the United States. In the new book Taking Down Backpage, Attorney Maggy Krell discussed the crimes and concerns that lead her to her mission to bring down a website where youth were being sold for sex. Backpage was notorious for paying lip service to authorities on taking down ads where youth were being sold, before allowing them to go right back up. Texas, Florida, and California currently have the highest numbers when it comes to reported trafficking cases.  Maggy Krell works in California, and could not sit idly by while seeing young women pay the price for this horrific business.

With a lot of help, and dogged determination, Maggy helped lead the charge that put three corrupt businessmen behind bars and took down a major highway for traffickers. The book is fascinating, albeit sometimes hard to read when realizing what some of these youth had to endure at the hands of traffickers.

Taking Down Backpage is available from NYU press in January 2022.
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As someone who has been involved in the anti-trafficking world for a while now, this book is a breath of fresh air. 

The writing style is informative while not being overpowering. I felt like I was having a conversation with the author instead of being lectured. 

This book is so important as it not only covers the process of taking down Backpage, but also points out areas that we need to fix in order to keep organizations and people from exploiting others. 

This book is a great introduction to the world of abolition and will leave readers righteously enraged and ready to step up and make a difference.
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This is not a feel good kind of book but more of a necessary one!  Backpage was an online group of sex traffickers who sadly used teenagers to do their bidding. Maggys story is a shocking report of the lengths that a group can go to in order to hurt others!
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Backpage was an online advertiser created from accepting, and creating ad’s selling people for sex online, mostly without their consent.
Maggy Krell is a legal prosecutor, trailblazer and out to destroy the seemingly impregnable world of the USA’s commercial sex trade, and subsequent human trafficking which is procured by the Backpage website.
We meet Maggy as a 25 year old legal crusader, all consumed with the complicated, and many pronged task of exposing.
Firstly: the plight of the victims who are badged as criminals. 
Secondly: the investigation, exposure and prosecution of the men behind Backpage, and the way they made massive profits from their organisation. 

Maggy makes it plain that her book is not about consensual sex work, it is about rape, and how Backpage increased the suffering of sexual trafficking victims exponentially.
She is motivated by meeting trafficking survivors, who have escaped and shared their stories.
Without them, she would have no case, and no anti-human trafficking movement.
The disturbing element is that many of the victims are underage, and powerless to defend themselves against violence, coercion, and organised crime.
Young victims are arrested and charged with prostitution, and thrown into the penal system, which does nothing to support or free them from this cycle of exploitation.

The book was engaging, but at times repetitive.
Although I understand that she is crazy busy with building this twisting, turning ongoing case
I did wonder who her home support people were; they get next to nix mention.

This book is a great insight to the role of internet companies in our social structure, and the importance of corporate responsibility to humanity.
I liked that in the final chapters of the book, Maggy highlights the need for educating and supporting America’s youth, to help make them less vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.
Maggy quotes Frederick Douglas from an Atlanta based non-profit program:
“It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men”

Thanks to NetGalley and NYU Press for an advance copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley #TakingDownBackpage
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