nsucurrent.com April 24, 2018

Classifieds Website Backpage Shut Down by Feds After Sex Trafficking Investigation

08 April 2018, 01:40 | Colleen Roy

H.R.1865 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

The US Congress has passed a bill that aims to make it easier to bring criminal charges against websites that knowingly facilitate or promote sex trafficking

A local Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson has also confirmed that law enforcement activity is occurring at the Sedona home of the website's founder Michael Lacey.

Federal agencies appear to have seized control of Backpage.com, according to a notice posted on the infamous adult classifieds website late Friday afternoon.

Check out the site's notice (below) and we'll continue to keep you posted moving forward.

Miss Marla moon, a sex worker who specializes in domination, told BuzzFeed News she lost $50 when Backpage went down Friday and that, for the past two years, she had spent $50 on Backpage ads almost every day.

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 fearless 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. In the posting about the seizure, the department had originally said more information would be made public on Friday evening. When Law&Crime reached out to the DOJ for confirmation, a spokesperson declined to comment, but did say that a news release is scheduled to be scheduled at that time.

Last month, however, the Senate approved bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. Backpage earned $135 million in 2014, according to a U.S. Senate report. It is awaiting President Trump's signature.

Last calendar year, a coalition of state and territorial attorneys overall questioned Congress to make it a lot easier for state and local law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute on the web facilitators of child sex trafficking.

The Supreme Court in January 2017 refused to consider reviving a lawsuit against Backpage that was filed by three young women, who accused it of facilitating their forced prostitution. The state of California has said that 90 per cent of the site's income were attributable to "adult ads".

The CEO of the website, Carl Ferrer, was arrested back in 2016 on pimping charges - suggesting that the leadership was well aware of the material on the site and perhaps warranting the backpage.com shutdown. But the judge in the case ruled that the site was protected by the First Amendment, and the site should not be liable for the speech of third parties, Reuters reported.

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