Backpage.com Shut Down by Federal Bureau of Investigation

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

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in Phoenix confirmed earlier on Friday that they had raided Lacey's home. They designated Backpage, mentioning dozens of circumstances in which minors had been trafficked via the website.

They began Backpage as an alternative to Craigslist, and it became the second most popular online classified site in the US behind Craigslist.

The report claims Backpage had long concealed evidence that it edited "adult" posts on its site and knowingly facilitated prostitution and child sex trafficking.

"Today, Backpage was shutdown".

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. It's a huge step.

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Backpage.com, the popular classified ads website, appeared to be offline Friday, posting a message that it had been seized and disabled by the federal government. "Now no child will be sold for sex through this website", tweeted Senator Heidi Heitkamp. The bill passed the Senate in an overwhelming 97-2 vote this week and will now head to President Trump's desk for him to sign into law.

"Shutting down the largest online United States marketplace for sex trafficking will dramatically reduce the profitability of forcing people into the commercial sex trade, at least in the short term", said Bradley Myles, chief executive of Polaris, an global anti-slavery group that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

There would be "a dramatic shift in the marketplace starting tonight", he added. It is the world's second-largest classified advertising website after Craigslist and brought in $135 million in annual revenue in 2014, according to The New York Times.

But until Friday the website had continued to operate, shielded by free speech protections. Embedded within adult sex ads on websites are a certain number of solicitations for children, anti-sex-trafficking groups have said.

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