Backpage responds quickly to subpoenas and provides testimony and research to police and prosecutors. The site provides a responsive, reliable repository for local and federal investigators to track illegal activity, from prostitution to murder. Five members of Congress last week called for the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of the site. Local lawmakers say censoring the website is a positive step in the fight against human trafficking, but people on the front line of the problem know the fight is not over. But it's a tougher call for law enforcement.
We can't just stand there and do nothing. I know," Lee said in a telephone interview. Defending Backpage is "not a popular position to take in the law enforcement world," said Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, a human trafficking expert who often testifies in such cases. But it will save thousands and thousands of lives. Klouchar and Congressman Erik Paulsen have been instrumental in passing legislation that protects victims of the sex trade. McDougall said in that "Backpage's role in the rescue of victims and conviction of predators in the United States gets short shrift - if it is mentioned at all. Eight civil suits have been filed this year alone by women who were underage and sold for sex on Backpage, with renowned attorney David Boies serving as lead counsel in two of them. Lois Lee, who has worked on the streets of Los Angeles for 38 years rescuing child trafficking victims, is a big believer in Backpage, and strongly agreed with Mehlman-Orozco that shutting one website would have no impact on child trafficking. Choi says Backpage was very helpful when he investigated any case involving the website. McDougall, who declined to speak to The Post on the record, quoted numerous examples in of law enforcement officials thanking Backpage for their help. Barry Hill of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department human trafficking bureau, said they had never gotten a call from Backpage alerting them to illegal activity. But she said Backpage is not helping. But she said that doesn't change her view that there are many other websites where the ads can go, and the underlying problem of why trafficking happens remains unaddressed. Rutgers University professor emeritus James Finckenauer, who co-authored a book on human trafficking and served on a trafficking task force, said, "If you had a number of the potential pool of people victimized, versus the number of cases which you received assistance, I think there'd be a large number in the former and less in the latter. McDougall has noted that the courts have repeatedly upheld Backpage's right to publish adult content and that their First Amendment right to free speech protects them. She said FAIR asked Backpage to require age verification for its advertisers, and submit ads to law enforcement in advance, but they refused. They have worked with Backpage for years, and they have gotten information and convictions. Backpage has no tolerance for sex trafficking. Five members of Congress last week called for the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of the site. But it's a tougher call for law enforcement. Ferrer," went one email from the FBI in , referring to Backpage chief executive Carl Ferrer, "We want to submit your name for recognition of your assistance following this case. Photo submitted by family. This argument that they're helpful to law enforcement is specious. Paul Pioneer Press that closing down the site's sex ads would make victims "no safer today than they were before, and in fact, may be at greater risk. That demand led to the arrest of 48 people around the towns of New Ulm and Mankato in connection with a Backpage. In addition, the Communications Decency Act holds that websites that merely host third-party content are not liable for that content. Facebook has been used to recruit girls for prostitution, and prostitutes now advertise their services on Twitter.
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