United States: FBI Arrests Backpage Founder for Facilitating Human Trafficking

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has shut down the online marketplace, Backpage, and arrested its founder on charges relating to sex trafficking, money laundering and exploitation of children.  Police, prosecutors and advocates argue that the site is primarily a clearinghouse for selling sex and that human traffickers use it regularly to exploit children and women for sex. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has said, “nearly three quarters of the cases submitted to the center relate to ads posted on” Backpage.

The anti-trafficking group Polaris said that, at least for now, “Shutting down the largest online U.S. marketplace for sex trafficking will dramatically reduce the profitability of forcing people into the commercial sex trade.” The charges against the Backpage founder have not been made public and the government’s indictment remains sealed.

Compiled from: Porter, Tom, Backpage Website Shut Down, Founder Charged With 93 Counts By FBI In Sealed Indictment, Newsweek and Reuters (April 7, 2018).