Backpage.com Shut Down By Federal Government

Backpage.com Shut Down By Federal Government

Anyone who attempts to visit the website will see an alert stating that the domain and its affiliated websites have been seized. According to CNBC, an Federal Bureau of Investigation official in Phoenix stated that "law enforcement activity" had taken place at the home of one of Backpage's founders, Michael Lacey. Last year, the website blamed years of pressure from the USA government as the reason it shut down its adult ads category.

Backpage.com, a popular classified ads website, appears to have been taken offline, showing instead a message informing visitors that the site has been seized and disabled by the federal government. But the website also has listings for adult escorts and other sexual services, and authorities say advertising related to those services has been extremely lucrative.

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

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The charges that led to the backpage.com shutdown were filed in Arizona, because that is where the website is founded and where the servers are maintained.

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. Several major credit cards stopped processing payments on Backpage in 2015, pointing to the site's connection to sex trafficking.

The notice did not detail the reason for the seizure but noted that Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as well as the offices of the Texas attorney general and California attorney general, were involved.

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The U.S. House and Senate recently passed bills known as "FOSTA" and "SESTA", specifically targeting Backpage.com and eliminating the overall provision in the U.S. Communications Decency Act that protected all websites from liability for content posted by users.

The FBI reportedly seized the website and conducted the raids under the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act 2017.

Ferrer, 55, was charged with pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping, according to NPR. He has said that Backpage knows it is accepting ads for prostitution, even though specific references to that crime are not present in the ads.

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