Visa and MasterCard can no longer be used on Backpage


This week both Visa and MasterCard said that their cards will no longer be able to be used to place ads on Backpage. Both credit card companies had been asked by Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart to discontinue doing business with Backpage over the obvious human trafficking that takes place on the site. Sheriff Dart has been one of the leading critics of Backpage for some time.

“Backpage has significantly lowered the barrier to entry for would-be sex traffickers, giving them easy access to millions of johns while cloaking them in anonymity and putting all risk on the shoulders of their victims,” Dart said in a statement on Tuesday. “Raising that barrier will lead to less would-be sex traffickers entering the business and ultimately less victims.”

This has to be a huge blow to Backpage as a lot of the money used to pay for ads come from pre-paid Visas and MasterCards. American Express stopped letting Backpage be used by their cardholders earlier this year.

And the cherry on top of this sundae is when reached for comment Backpage’s head legal weasel Liz McDougall had nothing to say.

Liz McDougall, senior counsel for Backpage, declined to comment.

That’s a minor miracle in itself.

I guess we’ll see pimps and traffickers setting up their own bitcoin rigs now.

2 thoughts on “Visa and MasterCard can no longer be used on Backpage”

  1. So I saw an article this morning and had to see if you posted about it. I did hear that there’s ways around it, something about off shore processing


  2. Thank you so much for covering the recent MasterCard/Visa decision to end processing payments for Backpage.

    I am writing as a representative from the Sex Workers Outreach Project. As an organization who has worked closely with individuals involved in the sex trade across the US for 10 years, we’re concerned about the impact this will have on individuals who use backpage (often for legal forms of adult work). In particular, we are concerned that this strategy will increase vulnerability to violence and exploitation rather than reduce it. We are concerned with this decision as we believe it is part of a larger trend towards morally driven and sensationalist anti-trafficking strategies and away from away from evidence-based approaches to fighting trafficking.

    Evidence-based approaches to trafficking focus on key factors that increase vulnerability: resources, jobs, discrimination. The Global Network Against Traffic in Women has a really great overview of evidence-based approaches to trafficking:


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