Federal Bureau of Investigation raids Sedona home of Backpage.com founder

Government seizes Backpage.com, more information forthcoming

Heitkamp recently rejoiced in the passing of a bill meant to hold websites like Backpage.com "accountable for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking online and to give greater legal protections to trafficking victims".

U.S. law enforcement agencies on Friday, April 6, shut down classified advertising website giant Backpage, long in authorities' sights because of its alleged support of human trafficking and prostitution. Whether that's a problem in and of itself depends on your individual moral compass, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that the site may be promoting sex trafficking - a major problem that they hope the backpage.com shutdown will address. And in early 2017, Backpage shuttered its adults section - where sex worker routinely posted ads - while under pressure from the USA government. The FBI alleges, too, that the site was used to facilitate sex with underage girls. They singled out Backpage, citing dozens of instances in which minors had been trafficked via the site. Several major credit cards stopped processing payments on Backpage in 2015, pointing to the site's connection to sex trafficking.

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

The FBI post claimed federal attorneys in Arizona and California and the Justice Department's section on child exploitation and obscenity and the California and Texas attorneys general jointly participated in the action.

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The Backpage.com website now shows logos of USA enforcement agencies and promised more information later today.

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.

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Talking about the matter is Bradley Myles, CEO of the group behind the National Human Trafficking Hotline, who stated to Reuters that Backpage's seizure will have a significant impact on the sex trafficking marketplace. Another principal in the company, Michael Lacey, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, and charged with sex trafficking, USA Today reported. He has said that Backpage knows it is accepting ads for prostitution, even though specific references to that crime are not present in the ads.

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