U.S. Seizes Backpage.com, a Site Accused of Enabling Prostitution

The homepage of Backpage.com after federal authorities seized it on Friday.

WASHINGTON — Federal authorities have taken down Backpage.com, a major classified advertising website that has been repeatedly accused of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking of minors.

“Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized,” a notice on the website says.

Backpage has been under increasing pressure in recent years, in part because it featured ads that included what child advocates said were code words for underage girls, including “Amber Alert.”

In January 2017, the site shuttered its “adult services listings” section under mounting criticism from law enforcement groups and senators. But many of the adult listings were simply rerouted to sections of the site dedicated to dating.

Revenue at Backpage increased to $135 million in 2014 from $5.3 million in 2008, according to a Senate report last year. More than 90 percent of the earnings came from adult ads, the California Department of Justice found.

The federal seizure notice appeared on the website Friday afternoon. Earlier that day, according to news reports in Arizona, the F.B.I. had raided the Sedona home of Michael Lacey, a founder of Backpage. An F.B.I. spokesman in Phoenix confirmed that there was “law enforcement activity” there and referred further questions to the Justice Department.

While the notice on the Backpage site said the Justice Department would provide more information at 6 p.m. on Friday, a department official declined to comment, saying the matter remained sealed by a judge for now.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the seizure of the site was “an important step forward in the fight against human trafficking.”

“This builds on the historic effort in Congress to reform the law that for too long has protected websites like Backpage from being held liable for enabling the sale of young women and children,” he said in a statement.

The site’s founders, Mr. Lacey and Jim Larkin, have said that Backpage notifies law enforcement authorities whenever it becomes aware of illegal activity. They have also maintained that the site is protected from criminal charges by a federal statute, the Communications Decency Act. That law protects internet platform providers from being held legally liable for what others post on their websites.

That protection will be weakened by a bill that Congress passed last month, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, also known as Fosta. It makes it easier for states to prosecute, or for victims to sue, internet companies they accuse of hosting content that facilitated sex trafficking.

While President Trump has not yet signed Fosta into law, Craigslist has already responded to the bill’s passage by taking down its personal ads section.

However, even before Fosta, there was already a statute that made it a crime to use a “facility” in interstate commerce — like the internet — to knowingly enable prostitution. Law enforcement officials had used that law to go after operators of other websites facing similar accusations, including a 2012 case involving Escorts.com, a 2014 case involving MyRedbook.com and a 2015 case involving Rentboy.com.

Internet firms and advocates for free speech online had opposed Fosta, arguing that it would lead to censorship and was not necessary because the federal government already had the ability to prosecute people who used the internet to facilitate prostitution.

Last year, a coalition of state and territorial attorneys general asked Congress to make it easier for state and local law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute online facilitators of child sex trafficking. They singled out Backpage, citing dozens of instances in which minors had been trafficked via the site.

Also last year, Senators Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, oversaw an investigative report that accused Backpage of knowingly facilitating online sex trafficking.

On Friday, Ms. McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor, hailed the federal seizure of the website as “great news” but also called it “long overdue.”

She said Fosta would allow state and local officials to take similar steps in the future, rather than relying on the federal government to do so.

“State and local law enforcement need this bill to enable them to take swift action against websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking of children online, and to stop the next Backpage long before another website can claim so many innocent victims,” she said in a statement.

In Other News

fake money

Keywords clouds text link http://alonhatro.com

 máy sấy   thịt bò mỹ  thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhomegương trang trí  nội thất  cửa kính cường lực   lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà 

Our PBN System:  thiết kế nhà xưởng thiết kế nội thất thiết kế nhà tem chống giả  https://thegioiapple.net/ https://24hstore.vn/

aviatorsgame.com ban nhạcconfirmationbiased.com 
mariankihogo.com  ốp lưngGiường ngủ triệu gia  Ku bet ku casino

https://maysayhaitan.com/  https://dovevn.com/ buy fake money https://sgnexpress.vn/ máy sấy buồn sấy lạnh

mặt nạ  mặt nạ ngủ  Mặt nạ môi mặt nạ bùn mặt nạ kem mặt nạ bột mặt nạ tẩy tế bào chết  mặt nạ đất sét mặt nạ giấy mặt nạ dưỡng mặt nạ đắp mặt  mặt nạ trị mụn
mặt nạ tế bào gốc mặt nạ trị nám tem chống giả

https://galaxymedia.vn/  công ty tổ chức sự kiện tổ chức sự kiện
Ku bet ku casino
Sâm tươi hàn quốc trần thạch cao trần thạch cao đẹp

suất ăn công nghiệpcung cấp suất ăn công nghiệp


© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.