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Feds seize Backpage.com, websites in enforcement action

08 April 2018

Backpage.com and its "affiliated websites" were seized Friday "as part of an enforcement action" by the FBI with the support of several federal and state agencies, according to the notice.

The site has so far evaded prosecution by claiming to fall under a 1996 law that gives broad immunity to websites that republish users' content, according to a 2017 Senate committee report on 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 courageous 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.

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While it was not known when exactly we'd see the backpage.com shutdown, the site had been under investigation for years due to allegations that it facilitates sex trafficking on the ads page.

A spokesman at the FBI's Phoenix field office would not confirm that and directed all questions to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment. The website has been an alleged haven for prostitution and sex trafficking, and a co-founder of the website was arrested and slapped with still unknown charges. Backpage's adult services listings carrying adverts from sex workers, which are purportedly the focus of criminal probes. The company shuttered its adult section a year ago in response to government pressure.

Backpage.com, an online classifieds site, advertises everything from cars to furniture.

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Lacey, former editor of New Times, and Jim Larkin, the former publisher, were arrested in October 2016 on California charges that they had profited from prostitution activities through Backpage. The passage of the bill led Craigslist to close its personals ad section. 7 people have reportedly been charged, and local CBS affiliate 3TV/CBS5 reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation have raided the Arizona home of founder Michael Lacey. McCain in the statement called the website a "malicious sex marketplace".

But the site has since then faced a slew of other lawsuits alleging child sex trafficking.

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Feds seize Backpage.com, websites in enforcement action