News & Opinion | March 27, 2019 1:30 pm

50 Women Filed Lawsuit Against Salesforce Alleging Sex Trafficking and Prostitution

The tech giant stands accused of contributing to Backpage’s notorious sex trafficking brand.

Salesforce sex trafficking
Salesforce Tower in San Francisco (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

A tech giant that once publicized its anti-sex trafficking efforts now finds itself accused of perpetrating the very activtity it claimed to fight.

Fifty women across the United States have filed a lawsuit against customer relations management (CRM) company Salesforce, reported The Daily Beast. The San Francisco-based company is accused of “sex trafficking, negligence and conspiracy,” for its involvement with the infamous website Backpage, which pleaded guilty last year to knowingly facilitating prostitution.

According to The Daily Beast, the suit alleged Salesforce “kept taking Backpage’s money and supporting it with the CRM database of pimps, johns, and traffickers that Backpage needed to operate.”

The fifty anonymous women filed the lawsuit this week in San Francisco. The Jane Does alleged they “were forced, coerced, and made victims of sex trafficking” by pimps using Backpage ads managed by Salesforce cloud technology. “Salesforce committed acts at issue with malice, oppression, fraud, and duress,” claimed the suit.

Salesforce denied the claims in a statement on Tuesday: “We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously.”

The suit also pointed out the hypocrisy behind Salesforce’s claims of anti-sex trafficking efforts in the past, noting a 2013 tweet in which the company claimed to be “fighting trafficking with big data.”

“Behind closed doors, Salesforce’s data tools were actually providing the backbone of Backpage’s exponential growth.” the lawsuit stated.

Salesforce was founded in 1999 by standing CEO Marc Benioff. According to the company site, the company has an annual revenue of nearly $10.5 million and regularly makes Forbes’ innovation lists.