Backpage.com Website Seized By FBI, Justice Department

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Backpage has always been a controversial classified advertising website, previously accused of facilitating child sex trafficking, among other things.

In 2011, investigators alleged the of Backpage.com website's "adult services" subsection was being used for illegal prostitution and potential human trafficking.

"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. It makes it easier for states to prosecute, or for victims to sue, internet companies they accuse of hosting content that facilitated sex trafficking.

A Phoenix FBI official said that there was "law enforcement activity" at the Sedona, Arizona home of Michael Lacey, one of the founders of Backpage, but referred further inquiries to the Justice Department. They singled out Backpage, citing dozens of instances in which minors had been trafficked via the site.

Backpage.com, a classifed ads site akin to Craiglist, has been wiped off the face of the web.

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While Markus Lewe, Münster's mayor, said , 'The whole of Münster is in mourning after this bad event. The tragedy was labeled as a terrorist attack by law enforcement officials shortly thereafter.

According to the AP, a Senate report previous year said 73 percent of all child trafficking reports that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received involved the site. If this is true, it is a major blow to those involved in trafficking, as it shuts down a major avenues for people to connect with escorts.

The Senate investigation led to a bill - known as FOSTA, for the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act - that passed both houses of Congress last month.

Visitors hoping to browse the site's licentious listings were instead greeted by a Department of Justice takedown notice. 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.

"Shutting down the largest online US marketplace for sex trafficking will dramatically reduce the profitability of forcing people into the commercial sex trade, at least in the short term", Bradley Myles, chief executive of Polaris, an worldwide anti-slavery group, told the media.

However, supporters of the site believe the government has struck a blow against freedom of speech, and Morgan M. Page, a writer on gender issues, says now, sex workers' lives are in danger.

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