The feds now own America's premier prostitution website

07 April, 2018, 14:03 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • April 6th 2018                        CBS News

The notice appeared this evening, though information about the enforcement action is still incoming.

It said USA attorneys in Arizona and California, as well as the Justice Department's section on child exploitation and obscenity and the California and Texas attorneys general had supported the work in shutting down the website.

A notice on the website's homepage said the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and several other federal departments had seized the site. The Justice Department promised more information on this would be released an hour ago, but nothing yet from DOJ on possible charges or arrests.

The notorious website reads: "Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized". The report claims Backpage had long concealed evidence that it edited "adult" posts on its site and knowingly facilitated prostitution and child sex trafficking.

Backpage has always been used by prostitutes to advertise services, along with all manner of more conventional adult advertisements. Embedded within adult sex ads on websites are a certain number of solicitations for children, anti-sex-trafficking groups have said.


Craiglist took down its personal ads section last week in response to the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act, known as SESTA.

This seizure comes after Congress overwhelmingly passed a new federal law making it illegal for websites to host prostitution adds. Viewed narrowly, the bill allows victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that "enable" their abuse, but it raises a risky precedent for suing websites over user-generated content.

"This legislation will allow law enforcement to investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses that advertise or facilitate sex trafficking more effectively", agreed Chuck Canterberry, President of the National Fraternal Order of Police.

Backpage founder Michael Lacy had his home raided by the FBI's Phoenix branch earlier on Friday, according to 3TV/CBS 5. The bill is now waiting for President Trump's signature.

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