A new documentary by Mary Mazzio will become true revelation and shock for every American family. “I am Jane Doe” tells about young girls who fell into the clutches of pimps and was marketed as escorts on Backpage. It’s an online marketplace and one of the largest sites for selling everything from property to different services like a child care or housekeeping. But did you know that Backpage is commanding 80 percent of online commercial sex advertising revenues in the United States of America? Also they are promoting an unimaginable outrage such a child sex trafficking, the crime against the most vulnerable in our society.

Mary Mazzio discovered about illegal escort on this site a few years ago when she read about minor’s fighting against Backpage in her local paper. Three girls from her hometown of Boston sued for the harm incurred due to the fact that they were sold as prostitutes online. She was terrified that child sex trafficking happens nearby and decided to learn the details of this incident. Using her good abilities as a lawyer, with further research she found out that it wasn’t an isolated case but a widespread issue. Documentarian interviewed more than a hundred thousand American children who suffered from pimps. She managed to use the received materials and filmed a documentary about appalling violence that was possible due to a legal loophole. «I am Jane Doe» is sickening, but sobering advocacy cinema, the rest of us have no excuse to turn away.

Who is Jane Doe?

The title is a reference to the name borrowed by injured anonymous party in a lawsuit. Underage victims are talking directly to the camera about their hardship, focusing on the psychological consequences, but not the gloomy details of the kidnapping and the numerous rapes they lived through. Participates in the film and in a lawsuit were afraid of unmasking their identity, so they decided to hide their fool names. And everyone called the same reason – the fear for their families, especially younger brothers and sisters.

There are many others no less important heroes in the documentary. The mother that trying to get her daughter home replying to a criminal from her Backpage post. Ex pimp reasoning about psychological methods of manipulating young girls. Sheriff from Illinois who did so much efforts against this crime, so he put himself into the danger too. Director also revealing new frightful details about tools for retention of victims like a heavy drugs.

Film includes the interviews with many former Village Voice reporters and editors about this incident. Backpage once was owned by respected alternative newspaper company Village Voice Media. Spectator may notice one ambiguous moment, when Voice’s lawyer talks about efforts to eliminate sex trafficking. But at the same time added, that this is just the problem of internet. Do they really want to stop the criminal pimping or it is a protection of their well-established reputation?


Battle against sex trafficking

The fight was difficult for every member of this story, but the hardest fate befell those who strived to defend their rights legally. Families of injured children have sought restitution for inflicted harm but federal courts have dismissed the case. But Backpage answered to all charges that it is not their fault referring to the federal enactment. You will ask what the hell with laws?

Labyrinth of legal dodges is a result of Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act, enacted in 1996, which protect websites from liability for material published on their platforms by third parties. The CDA has become a really great obstacle on a way of justice, because counsels for the defense quoted this act in court asserting that Backpage aren’t legally accountable to using their website to sell kids.

“I am Jane Doe” reveals the tricks of circumvention that were used to systematically editing suspicious ads. In the documentary anonymous former employee admits in tailoring a code words and emojis for encryption of illegal content. Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage, lately told to enforcement authorities about the special filter which automatically deleted words and images indicative of sex trafficking and then published the edited versions of the ads. But a customer knew how to post “clean” advertising with children.

Documentaries as a method to highlight the social problems

Unaccountable paradox: how law designed to protect basic human freedoms allowed a promotion child sex trafficking? But showing the labyrinth of legal dodges and cruel judicial cynicism is not the major Mary Mazzio’s aim. She already filmed the works with the social impact. Previous “Underwater Dreams” and “The Apple Pushers” are both about immigrants living in the country illegally, who thanks to their skills and ambitions were making useful and important matters to the county.

The mission of “I am Jane Doe” is draw attention to the current problem of online sex trafficking and aim to support other victims, showing them that they are not alone in their problem. Hundreds, maybe thousands of young Jane Does waiting for a punishment for their clients and amend the CDA. Today they may just hope that their endless suffering and the denial of the law’s real-world consequences will stop.


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