Houston Sex & Human Trafficking Lawyer
Human trafficking is becoming a huge problem today, as technology makes it much easier for criminals to act and to make a profit. The problem is becoming so prevalent, it has ended up in the highest courts in the country. While courts around the country have historically dismissed lawsuits against the giant tech companies without giving the plaintiffs the benefit of discovery, that tide is turning. For example, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Facebook – permitting plaintiffs to move forward against Facebook on Texas’s Chapter 98 claims in 2021.
The ruling is an important one, as it could provide victims of human trafficking a way to hold tech companies liable for their actions or inactions. If you have been a victim and need to file a lawsuit to recover your losses, our Houston sex trafficking/human trafficking lawyers can help you do it.
Why are Tech Companies Liable for Human Trafficking?
The Human Trafficking Institute published a 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report that established that human trafficking victims are rarely taken off the street and forced into labor. Instead, they usually communicate with sex traffickers using online platforms and eventually become victim to it. The report showed that 30 percent of sex trafficking victims in federal cases were recruited on the Internet. Of those, 59 percent were trafficked on Facebook between 2000 and 2020. WeChat, Snapchat, and Instagram, a platform owned by Facebook, were also popular venues for sex trafficking.
Section 230 in Lawsuits Against Tech Giants
In the case heard in the Texas Supreme Court, the court ruled that Facebook does not have entire liability immunity. This was a defense the company had raised in the past, and they have been successful until now. While Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code immunizes companies such as Facebook for the things users post on their platform, holding Facebook and other tech companies liable for their own actions is something else entirely.
Facebook openly admitted in 2020 that over 20 million child sexual abuse images were found on the platform, as well as on Instagram. Human trafficking is certainly considered child abuse when it involves minors, which it usually does. Knowingly allowing a platform to display such images does not fall under Section 230, and, as the court stated, does not give the company a right to operate as a “lawless no-man’s land.” This ruling could set a precedent for victims of sex trafficking to file lawsuits against the big tech giants and to receive financial compensation for any injuries, trauma, and other losses they sustained as a result of the trafficking.
Our Sex Trafficking/Human Trafficking Lawyers in Houston Will Fight for You
If you have been a victim of human trafficking, you may think no one is on your side. At Gilde Law Firm, our Houston sex trafficking/human trafficking lawyers will fight for you and give you the best chance possible of a positive outcome. Call us today at 800-973-3106 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.