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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Backpage.com shut down by FBI, several indicted on crimes related to sex trafficking

    Backpage.com shut down by FBI, several indicted on crimes related to sex trafficking

    Posted: Apr 06, 2018 1:05 PM PDT Updated: Apr 06, 2018 3:19 PM PDT
    By Laura Lollman, Content Producer CONNECT

    (Source: Backpage.com)

    SEDONA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -Seven people have been indicted on 93 counts of several different crimes related to the classifieds website, Backpage.com. The crimes include money laundering and running a website to facilitate prostitution.
    The FBI confirmed Friday that agents raided the Sedona home of Michael Lacey, the founder of Backpage.com.

    It is not clear how many have been arrested in the investigation.


    The website has been seized and shut down by the FBI. Backpage.com is a classifieds website that has been under investigation for years for claims that the site facilitates sex trafficking on their adult ads page.


    [READ MORE: Phoenix PD bust man with prostitution ad on Backpage.com]


    The site allows users to post ads for 'escorts' and investigators say many of the ads are actually for underage girls.


    The FBI seized the website because it was allegedly being used to facilitate crime. The FBI has done this before with other sex trafficking websites and online pharmacies.


    There are 17 victims named in the documents who are both adults and children who say they were forced into sex trafficking.


    [READ MORE: Backpage.com executives plead Fifth in hearing on sex trafficking]


    The charges were filed in Arizona because the website was founded and is maintained here and it’s also where Backpage.com's servers are located.


    The Department of Justice (DOJ) says almost every single sex trafficking case involves online ads, mostly from Backpage.com.


    According to the DOJ, the biggest issue with these websites is that it facilitates sex trafficking for people who would have been to sheepish to pursue sex on the streets, especially to look for children.


    There have been previous cases against Backpage.com that were thrown out.


    The DOJ says the site has earned $500 million in revenue from prostitution since it was created.


    [READ MORE: Phoenix officials raise awareness about human trafficking with new PSA]


    A report released by a U.S. Senate subcomittee in early 2017 stated that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's data indicates that 73 percent of the child-trafficking reports it receives were related to Backpage.com.


    [RELATED: Documentary taking on sex-trafficking premieres in Arizona]


    Site executives say they are protected by the Communications Decency Act which regulates pornographic material on the internet. Executives argue that the law states internet publishers cannot be held liable for content created by third parties.


    [RELATED: Seven arrested in online prostitution sting, police say]


    But investigators say the site lost that protection when they alerted posters to key terms related to child sex trafficking.

    Investigators found proof of these alerts in internal Backpage.com documents.


    The site even gave the third party posters a chance to rephrase their ads so they wouldn't be flagged for child sex trafficking. Some of the terms Backpage.com admins told posters not to use include "Lolita," young, teenager and even "Amber Alert."


    The site's CEO, Carl Ferrer was arrested in late 2016 on pimping charges.


    [RELATED: John and Cindy McCain applaud the arrest of Backpage.com CEO]


    Ferrer and other executives went before a Senate investigation committee in 2017 where they all invoked the fifth amendment.

    The charges against Ferrer were eventually dismissed.


    The FBI's raid and shut down of the website is the latest development in the investigation into the website's role in sex trafficking.


    Stay with azfamily.com for updates on this developing story.

    http://www.azfamily.com/story/378986...-michael-lacey

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Congress's Crackdown on Human Trafficking





    Message body

    New Trafficking Law: Crackdown on Backpage, Changes by Reddit, Craigslist

    April 10, 2018 | Speaker Ryan Press Office | https://spkrryan.us/2v16zLA

    Recently, Congress passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) to help authorities crack down on websites that enable sex trafficking. Even before being signed into law, this legislation is already paving the way for change, making it easier for law enforcement to take action.


    Federal authorities have seized control of Backpage.com—notorious for enabling traffickers—and indicted its owners, executives, and employees.

    Websites like Reddit and Craigslist have reacted to the new law by shutting down certain advertising pages. The New York Times noted about FOSTA:

    “It makes it easier for states to prosecute, or for victims to sue, internet companies they accuse of hosting content that facilitated sex trafficking. While President Trump has not yet signed FOSTA into law, Craigslist has already responded to the bill’s passage by taking down its personal ads section.”


    President Trump is set to sign the bill tomorrow, marking a turning point in the fight against human trafficking.


    Sex trafficking erodes the foundation of safety that upholds our communities and violates the human rights of victims. Its perpetrators have used the Internet to expand their reach, emboldened by websites that have allowed their activity to fester.

    Until now, our laws have not kept pace with these new challenges.


    In addition to making it easier for states to investigate and prosecute businesses that facilitate online sex trafficking, FOSTA equips states with more effective tools to do so. And it empowers victims to seek justice by providing recourse for them to sue.

    FOSTA was sponsored in the House by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and includes reforms authored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) as part of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The bill is supported by law enforcement, anti-trafficking advocates, faith-based groups, and members of the broader tech community.

    We must do everything we can to end human trafficking—and that starts with shutting down the places where traffickers operate. These new reforms have already begun to make that possible, and Congress will continue its work to protect some of our country's most vulnerable from this horrific crime.


    Read more on Congress's actions to fight human trafficking:
    We Must End Sex Trafficking in the United States
    Human Trafficking is an American Problem
    The House is Taking More Action to End Human Trafficking
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