Business as usual at Backpage as trafficking ads continue

Business as usual at Backpage as trafficking ads continue

As should have been expected, Backpage’s grandiose claims of government censorship causing them to shutter the adult section of their site was nothing more than a virtual sleight of hand. The adult ads appear to have allegedly migrated from the adult section to the personals section where Backpage can still collect money for them.

This was first reported by who were notified by Andrea Powell, an advocate from the organization FAIR Girls, whose purpose it is to rescue girls from human trafficking. More recently it was brought to light by Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of Backpage. Sheriff Dart had the following to say…

A couple days after Backpage made the switch, Dart said his officers set up a “date” with one of the women advertising on the site and confirmed she was charging for sex.

“We went out and arrested a person off the site,” he said. “We answered one of their ads and it was no different.”

While it is free to post ads in the personals section, there are upgrades you can purchase to keep the ads in better positioning and circulation. The Senate Subcommittee that investigated Backpage alleged that Backpage had moderators that would edit the ads for prostitution to make them seem less illegal. If they used their moderators for that purpose then potentially couldn’t they use them to keep the prostitution ads out of the personals?

Let’s not forget what’s really at stake here. While Backpage is playing games with Congress, there are still women and children being forced into slavery by their traffickers on Backpage. Nothing has changed. Law enforcement and the government must not forget that these victims are still out there and must continue the fight, even if we have to remind them.