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And young girls continued to be prostituted on the site, the federal indictment alleges.Meanwhile, an investigation by The Washington Post found that Backpage was not only deeply involved in creating ad content but also soliciting prostitutes from other websites to advertise on Backpage.
(Tom Jackman/The Washington Post) Backpage top executives James Larkin, Michael Lacey and Carl Ferrer were summoned by the committee on the day after the report’s release but invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves.
At the same time, Backpage announced that its “Adult Services” section would close, but the ads merely migrated to the “Dating” section.
Internal emails demonstrated that Backpage officials edited ads, or advised customers how to edit their own ads, so that terms indicating that a person was a “teen” or “young” or “fresh” would be removed, yet the ad itself would remain online and the victim still prostituted.
The report issued by the Senate committee in January 2017 boiled with anger, declaring that “Backpage knows that it facilitates prostitution and child sex trafficking” and that “Backpage’s public defense is a fiction.” Sen.
Large Internet companies such as Google and Facebook initially declared their opposition to the bill because of the increased responsibility it would place on websites to monitor third-party content.
Google began marshaling its lobbyists for a fight, urging congressional staff to keep members from co-sponsoring Wagner and Portman’s bills.
“It means so much to our family,” Ambrose said of the bill.
“Hopefully, there won’t be many more people who have to endure that pain.” [How a 16-year-old went from Backpage to prostitution to homicide victim] The bill, nicknamed “FOSTA” for its title, “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” goes into effect immediately, but its impact was already being seen around the Internet as sites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertising.
Rob Portman (R-Ohio) chats on Capitol Hill in January with Yvonne Ambrose, whose daughter was slain after being prostituted on