The San Francisco tech and business community were in shock today when knowledge of a lawsuit filed against Salesforce for benefiting from human trafficking came to light. Salesforce, an acquisition and retention tools for businesses with a 120 billion valuation, and one of its tech darling, a company known for its human rights advocacy for the homeless and gender equity, allegedly benefitted from doing business with Backpage.
The lawsuit Jane Doe v. Salesforce (3.25.19) (human trafficking) filed by 50 women identified merely as Jane Doe alleges that the company financially profited by helping Backpage, the now-defunct sex trafficking website to engage in its illegal activities. The women alleges that by providing services to Backpage, Salesforce contributed to their pain and suffering.
The lawsuit alleges that despite the growing public outcry against Backpage and the many legal battles the company was facing, Salesforce not only continued to offer its services but was, in fact, the building block upon which Backpage operations were operating and supporting sex and drug trafficking rings.
The lawsuit further claims that despite various efforts to have the site shut down, Salesforce allegedly advised the company how to overcome obstacles and thrive, while publicly making claims to use its CRM platform to fight human trafficking.
And if you wondered what happened to Backpage, it was shut down on April 6, 2018, its CEO Carl Ferrer plead guilty to conspiracy, money laundering, and facilitating prostitution with a plea agreement to permanently shut the website down, and he faces up to 5 years in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for July.
At the time of publishing The Scope Weekly had not heard back from Parmet or Salesforce CEO and chairman Marc Benioff, or other Salesforce spokesperson. If new information is provided to us, the story will be updated accordingly.