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50 women accuse Salesforce of profiting from their sex trafficking

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco, 50 women accuse Salesforce.com of profiting from and facilitating their exploitation by sex traffickers. Salesforce knowingly provided defunct ad site Backpage.com with customized tools to market prostitutes to "pimps, johns, and traffickers who had been underusing its trafficking services," the suit alleges.

Salesforce, whose philanthropic endeavors include helping host an anti-human-trafficking event in April, "knew the scourge of sex trafficking because it sought publicity for trying to stop it," the lawsuit says. But actually, it is "among the vilest of rogue companies, concerned only with their bottom line."

When Backpage was floundering in 2013, Salesforce helped revive the company by providing tools to help mange its "trafficker and pimp database," the lawsuit alleges, and thus Salesforce's services contributed to the women being raped and abused across the U.S., including in the Bay Area, Cincinnati, and Baltimore.

The federal government shut down Backpage in 2018, accusing the site of serving as an "online brothel." Salesforce declined to comment on the lawsuit but told Bloomberg that it takes the allegations seriously and is "deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products."