PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley and 45 other state attorneys general today called on Backpage.com to provide information on now it removes advertising for sex trafficking, especially ads involving minors.
The letter to the online site’s lawyers, states that the hub for illegal sex ads is a magnet for those seeking to exploit minors and points to more than 50 cases, in 22 states over three years, involving the trafficking or attempted trafficking of minors through Backpage.com. They also reminded Backpage.com of a 2010 request from nearly two dozen attorneys general asking that the adult services site be taken down.
Many state attorneys general are concerned that Backpage.com is attempting to minimize the impact of child sex trafficking and further divert attention from the company’s robust prostitution advertising business.
The letter from state attorneys general makes a series of requests to Backpage.com, asking that the company willingly provide information in lieu of a subpoena. For example, in order to substantiate the claim that the company enforces policies to prevent illegal activity, the attorneys general ask that Backpage.com describe in detail its understanding of what precisely constitutes “illegal activity,” and whether advertisements for prostitution fall into that category. The attorneys general also ask, among other requests; how many advertisements in its adult section and subsections have been submitted since Sept. 1, 2010; how many of those advertisements were individually screened; how many were rejected; and how many were removed after being discovered to be for illegal services.
In 2008, 42 attorneys general reached an agreement with Craigslist to crack down on illegal listings, in an effort to reduce crimes like human trafficking. Craigslist ultimately removed its “erotic services” section altogether in May 2009.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Wednesday, August 31, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215