A federal grand jury indictment that had been expected to be unsealed on Friday evening remained sealed as of Saturday morning, but an attorney for Michael Lacey ― the former editor of the Phoenix New Times and the founder of Backpage.com ― confirmed to the Arizona Republic that his client was one of those named in the 93-count indictment. He called the Justice Department's action "good news for victims and survivors of online sex trafficking".
Supporters hailed the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) as a major victory, but the measure is not without its critics: some say it would undermine a basic underpinning of the internet, which enables websites to host information from 3rd parties without liability.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.
Screenshot of backpage.ca website on April 6, 2018.
Backpage has said such ads are constitutionally protected free speech. During the trial, investigators testified that Rios placed prostitution ads on Backpage.
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The report said Backpage knowingly accepted ads placed by pimps offering sex for money with teen-age girls, some of them runaways or held against their will, then systematically removed words and images that showed the ads' true intent. "It makes it a lot more complicated for us to figure out what's going on".
"Daisy said "...the government is driving workers to streetwalking. you can't properly screen a client in a back alley outside of his auto. vetting sites that escorts used to screen clients are being shut down. this will literally get women killed and raped". "This is evil, and this has been happening". Friday night Dart told the ABC7 I-Team he is "ecstatic that after many years a website involved with sex trafficking, child trafficking and prostitution has been shut down". But the site has faced a barrage of other legal actions from various entities who accused it of aiding and abetting illegal sexual conduct.
Backpage has always been a controversial classified advertising website, previously accused of facilitating child sex trafficking, among other things.
It awaits President Trump's signature.
Members of Congress have also investigated the site for its alleged role in sex trafficking.