Survivors of human trafficking and their support advocates are trying to shine a light on the problem.
At a State House press conference, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said she’s concerned that online classified ad sites such as backpage.com are complicit, and should be held accountable.
“Entities such as backpage.com and other internet service providers are not fully immune from civil and criminal liability for facilitating the trafficking of young girls and boys,” she said.
Mills, a candidate for governor, joined 49 other state attorneys general in August to urge Congress to strengthen local authorities’ ability to investigate and prosecute facilitators of child sex trafficking, by amending the Communications Decency Act.
Moninda Marube, who is originally from Kenya and now lives in Auburn, said he was exploited for more than a year by an unscrupulous agent who withheld his earnings when he first came to the U.S. to run professionally in 2010.
“I was basically like in bondage, if I could put it that way, because I couldn’t even be able to finance myself and yet I was running races, yet I was winning money, but I could not even see the amount of money that I was winning,” he says.
Marube has since been committed to raising awareness of exploitation. In April, he will be organizing a conference on human trafficking at UMF, where he’s now a student.
The annual State House event was organized by Republican state Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough in collabration with Not Here Justice in Action Network.