Backpage Gets Shut Down By The Feds, Co-Founder Charged

08 April, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Diane Mills
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It makes it a crime for someone to use a website "with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person..."

Local media reports said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had raided the Arizona home of Michael Lacey, a co-founder of Backpage. And in early 2017, Backpage shuttered its adults section - where sex worker routinely posted ads - while under pressure from the US government. But Sen. Heidi Heitkamp celebrated the action, saying, "Today, Backpage was shut down". But the site also has listings for adult escorts and other sexual services, and authorities say advertising related to those services has been extremely lucrative.

Part of the Department of Justice's issue with websites like backpage.com is that they facilitate sex trafficking by giving sheepish people access to victims that they may not be courageous enough to approach on the street - leading to more business for traffickers and driving up the demand for young children who were forced into prostitution. They singled out Backpage, citing dozens of instances in which minors had been trafficked via the site. Previous cases against the site had been thrown out of court, but this one seemed to stick - causing the backpage.com shutdown and hopefully lowering the prevalence of child sex trafficking.

Investigators say in the 14 years it was in operation, the site earned more than $500 million.

The notice did not detail the reason for the seizure but noted that Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as well as the offices of the Texas attorney general and California attorney general, were involved.

More news: Federal Reserve hikes interest rates

California state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed 39 new counts against Backpage, Ferrer, Lacey and Larkin in December, despite the judge's earlier ruling, and accused the company of running an "online brothel".

Federal legislation was passed last month, called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), targeting operations like those at Backpage.

The website Backpage.com was taken down Friday and seized by federal law enforcement authorities, according to a notice posted online.

"This sends a clear message to any other website who thinks they are going to pick up where Backpage left off, that they too are going to be held accountable for profiting on the backs of vulnerable women", Jimenez said.

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