Facebook knew about sex-trafficking network, report claims

None of the court documents connected with the case mention any kind of Facebook investigation

Article content

A sex-trafficking ring that smuggled Asian women into the U.S. to work at seedy massage parlours did so with the full knowledge of Facebook, a new report claims.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

According to USA Today, at least 40 women were enslaved by the traffickers, who put them to work in Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.

The social media giant confirmed it knew about the ring in a 2019 internal report. And in grandiose Facebook fashion, the company boasted they had “disrupted” the network and disabled all 84 pages and 22 accounts associated with it.

Sex trafficker David Williams, of Pensacola, Fla., was busted in August 2019 and charged with operating the chain of massage parlours. He pleaded guilty in November 2019 and was jailed for three years.

However, USA Today reports that none of the court documents connected with the case mention any kind of Facebook investigation. Nor was there evidence the company supplied evidence to the feds.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

The main concern for the embattled tech giant was “reputational risk,” whistleblower Frances Haugen said. And the company is again claiming they are conducting a probe into the sex trafficker but a spokesman said he couldn’t say what information was turned over to the FBI.

Sex trafficker David Williams. HANDOUT/ SANTA ROSA COUNTY JAIL
Sex trafficker David Williams. HANDOUT/ SANTA ROSA COUNTY JAIL

The feds began investigating Williams and his wife, Qun Shen, after spotting Facebook pages promoting the massage joints. The ads were filled with keywords suggesting possible sexual services, USA Today said.

Authorities say more than 100 women were brought from Asia, many from impoverished corners of the Philippines. The traffickers used the so-called Romeo scheme, promising money and marriage. Most had no idea they would be prostituted.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Facebook claims the corporation was “probably” working on material to turn over to cops when Williams was pinched.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

A company spokesman told USA Today: “We’ve been combatting human trafficking on our platform for many years and our goal remains to prevent anyone who seeks to exploit others from having a home on our platform.”

Facebook has been hammered recently by revelations about its quest for power and profit.

“Employees are drunk on the absolute power of being in control of civics in America, without ever having to visit a voting booth (if voting is even an option),” one insider said recently.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world