The ads website Backpage.com has been shut down and seized by U.S. law enforcement agencies as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A posting on the website said Friday, "backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized." There are also numerous law enforcement agency logos on the posting.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/f097a46a0fa4f32bb50acddb8a1def69a8d554f9b05974ba1ff0c6c50041c26f.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
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The move appears to be the result of the FOSTA act which provides law enforcement a way to go after third-party websites who host criminal activity, especially child exploitation and human trafficking. Political leaders have been working to end forced prostitution and child rape and celebrated the shutdown of Backpage.
The recent FOSTA Act has led to fears and criticism from internet and free speech advocates who warn the move could lead to harsh federal limits on expression and freedom of the press. U.S. attorneys in Arizona and California, as well as the Justice Department’s section on child exploitation and obscenity and the California and Texas attorney general worked together to take down the website.
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Any legal information regarding the seizing of the website is under wraps according to the Justice Department who said the case remains sealed late Friday. "Law enforcement activity" was confirmed at the home of Michael Lacey, one of the founders of Backpage, by a Phoenix FBI official but he referred any further inquiries to the Justice Department.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp tweeted in praise of the shutdown of Backpage, "Today, Backpage was shut down. It’s a huge step. Now no child will be sold for sex through this website." Heitkamp is one of the people behind legislation that makes it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, including advertisers and anyone else who failed to keep the sex trafficking off their platforms.
Bradley Myles, chief executive of Polaris, an international anti-slavery group that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline said, "Shutting down the largest online U.S. marketplace for sex trafficking will dramatically reduce the profitability of forcing people into the commercial sex trade, at least in the short term."
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