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Government seizes Backpage.com, more information forthcoming
08 April 2018, 01:44 | Myrtle Vega
Backpage.com Seized by the US Government, Says Website
The website Backpage.com was taken down Friday and seized by federal law enforcement authorities, according to a notice posted online. Current anti-trafficking laws can not be applied to websites such as Backpage.
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.
The Justice Department spent three years investigating Backpages.com before Ferrer's first arrest, employing at one point an undercover operation aimed at confirming allegations that escorts ads were for the sole objective of buying and selling sex. However, a judge decided that the federal case should remain sealed on Friday night.
But its most lucrative service is in sex, with listings for adult escorts and other sex services. The company shuttered its adult section previous year in response to government pressure.
The US Department of Justice has confirmed that the website's notice is authentic.
The website's chief executive, Carl Ferrer, was arrested at the company's headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and charged with sexual exploitation and pimping charges.
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Two days after the Senate approval, Backpage competitor Craigslist removed its personal ads section.
Cindy McCain, wife of Sen.
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. "Now no child will be sold for sex through this website", tweeted Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
Liz McDougall, a lawyer for Backpage, said Friday evening that she could not comment on the day's events. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in Phoenix confirmed earlier on Friday that they had raided Lacey's home.
In the documents surrounding the backpage.com shutdown, there is information from 17 victims who all claim they were forced into sex trafficking - with some of them being children.
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