After McCaskill Attends Advance Screening, Backpage Documentary I Am Jane Doe Premiers

Film, now open nationwide, praised by Senator for shining spotlight on the ‘devastation wrought by a website that knowingly facilitated the trafficking of children for sex’

WASHINGTONI Am Jane Doe, a documentary film on the website Backpage and its knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking—including trafficking of children—premiered nationwide this weekend, after U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill attended an advance screening last week.

PHOTO 1: Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Kubiiki Pride, Mary Mazzio, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Cindy McCain at the advance screening of I Am Jane Doe

McCaskill, along with Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, John McCain of Arizona, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, attended the advance screening and participated in the film, which is narrated by Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain. The film prominently features McCaskill and Portman’s bipartisan Senate investigation into the website.

“This must-see film shines a spotlight on the devastation wrought by a website that knowingly facilitated the trafficking of children for sex,” said McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor. “I Am Jane Doe tells the gut-wrenching tale of families whose lives have been changed forever, and of our efforts to hold Backpage accountable and use every legal tool in our arsenal to ensure criminals can’t use online platforms to transform normal American teenagers into sex slaves.”

Click HERE for more photos from the event.

I Am Jane Doe chronicles the battle families across the country are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters who were trafficked for commercial sex on Backpage.com. The documentary film follows the journey of these families in real time, as well as the lawyers involved in their lawsuits against the company. The film also includes interviews with former editors and writers from the Village Voice, ex-CIA analysts, FBI agents, and others involved with the cases. 50 percent of all profits from the project will be donated to organizations serving the children featured in the film.

PHOTO 2: Screengrab of I Am Jane Doe trailer, featuring Kubiiki Pride, whose daughter was trafficked out of St. Louis

Last month, revealing that “they did not turn away ads selling children—they just tried to make it less obvious,” McCaskill directly challenged the CEO and senior leadership of Backpage—who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions—at a bipartisan hearing to examine the company’s knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking, including of children.

McCaskill and Senator Portman also released a report in conjunction with the hearing, which found Backpage knowingly facilitated sex trafficking, including trafficking of children, on the internet. The Senators’ report is the culmination of an almost two-year investigation examining more than one million pages of documents. Legal cases previously brought against Backpage were dismissed because the company claimed immunity as “just a platform” that doesn’t take an active role in online ad postings. The stunning report McCaskill and Portman released undermines this central immunity defense. 

For the last two years, McCaskill and Portman have led an investigation into online sex trafficking facilitated by Backpage, resulting in a unanimous Senate vote to enforce the Subcommittee’s subpoena and a federal court order compelling Backpage to turn over responsive documents. The Subcommittee began its bipartisan investigation of human trafficking on the internet in April 2015.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/backpage to see more about McCaskill’s bipartisan investigation.

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