Feds Seize Backpage.com And Indict Founder In Prostitution Crackdown

"Law enforcement activity is occurring", the Phoenix FBI told the New York Daily News. They designated Backpage, mentioning dozens of circumstances in which minors had been trafficked via the website.

Backpage.com lets users create posts to sell items, seek a roommate, participate in forums, list upcoming events or post job openings.

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

Backpage.com, the controversial website infamous for its sex-related classified ads, was reportedly seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department confirmed to CNN that the website has been seized and that additional information would be made available Friday evening. But Sen. Heidi Heitkamp celebrated the action, saying, "Today, Backpage was shut down". McCain in the statement called the website a "malicious sex marketplace".

Last month, however, the Senate approved bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

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While President Trump hasn't yet signed Fosta into law, Craigslist has recently responded to this invoice's passage by simply taking down its own advertisements section.

"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.

Meanwhile, people who said they had placed ads on Backpage complained that they were not issued refunds or notified of a shutdown.

Court documents say some women were forced into it, through threats or intimidation, and that several were children, some as young as 14.

Last valued at half a billion dollars, Backpage operated in 97 countries and is involved in 73 percent of all child trafficking reports received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The state of California has said that 90 per cent of the site's income were attributable to "adult ads".

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