Backpage.com seized, founder hit with charges after FBI raid

UPDATED April 16, 2018

By Signing The Allow States And Victims To Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, President Donald J. Trump Provides Invaluable Tools Needed To Fight The Scourge Of Sex Trafficking

RESOURCES TO END SEX TRAFFICKING: The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), which includes the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA), will give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.

CONTINUING TO TAKE ACTION: Signing the FOSTA is a continuation of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to take the fight to human traffickers.

H.R. 1865 Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 was signed into law on April 11, 2018.

Read more:  By Signing The Allow States And Victims To Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, President Donald J. Trump Provides Invaluable Tools Needed To Fight The Scourge Of Sex Trafficking – White House Press Release

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April 6, 2018

by Megan Cerullo

The founder of sex-ad platform Backpage.com was slapped with federal charges on Friday after officials seized control of the website and raided his Phoenix-area home.

Visitors hoping to browse the site’s licentious listings were instead greeted by a Department of Justice takedown notice.

“Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center,” the announcement read.

FBI agents, meanwhile, descended on Backpage co-founder Michael Lacey’s Sedona home, according to Evan Wyloge of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

‘Slave’ cult leader hit with sex trafficking charges

Lacey’s neighbors who witnessed the raid said “about 20 undercover cops” swarmed the property, according to Wyloge.

Specific charges against Lacey were not disclosed because a judge ordered the case sealed, the Arizona Republic reported.

Phoenix FBI officials confirmed to the Daily News that “law enforcement activity” related to the site had taken place.

Backpage owner Michael Lacey’s home was raided by the FBI on Friday. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Justice Department officials did not respond to The News’ request for comment.

Other agencies were also involved in the enforcement action, with more information forthcoming, the FBI said.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, known as SESTA, passed both houses of Congress last month as part of a push to crack down on Backpage.com and other sites accused of facilitating human trafficking.

It awaits President Trump’s signature.

Some sex workers argued that the legislation hamstrings their ability to safely earn a living.

Source:  Backpage.com seized, founder hit with charges after FBI raid

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On June 9, 2017 we reported:

For more than twenty months, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations had investigated the problem of online sex trafficking.  The investigation led the Subcommittee to focus on Backpage.com, the leading online marketplace for commercial sex.  Operating in 97 countries and 943 locations worldwide—and last valued at more than a half-billion dollars—Backpage is the world’s second-largest classified advertising website.  Backpage is involved in 73% of all child trafficking reports that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) receives from the general public (excluding reports by Backpage itself).  The National Association of Attorneys General has aptly described Backpage as a “hub” of “human trafficking, especially the trafficking of minors.”

Backpage.com, a classified ad website, is deeply complicit in child sex trafficking, according to a U.S. Senate investigations subcommittee. On January 10, 2017, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held hearings on Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.

The outcome of the Senate hearings resulted in Backpage.com’s owners winning their case on grounds of “Free Speech”.

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