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posted by on Thursday January 12 2017, @12:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-he-a-pimp-or-not? dept.

Hours after the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report claiming that online classifieds website Backpage "knowingly concealed evidence of criminality by systematically editing its adult ads", Backpage shut down the U.S. adult advertising section of its site:

The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its "adult" section on Monday, yielding to a campaign by state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking. The unexpected move came hours after a U.S. Senate subcommittee released a report accusing Backpage of actively editing posts on the site to remove evidence of child sex trafficking.

In announcing its decision, Backpage said it was the victim of government censorship. Backpage attorneys said executives would appear at a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, but would not testify.

U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, however, said their subcommittee found Backpage had been far more complicit in sex trafficking than previously known. "Backpage's response wasn't to deny what we said. It was to shut down their site," they said in a statement. "That's not 'censorship' — it's validation of our findings."

On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from three sex trafficking victims accusing Backpage of facilitating the exploitation of children. The Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that said Backpage is shielded from liability by federal law since the site's classified ads are posted by users.

Also at Washington Post, NBC, and USA Today.

Previously: Backpage's Dallas Offices Raided, CEO Charged With "Pimping"
"Pimping" Charges Against Backpage Executives Dismissed
California Attorney General Pursues New Charges Against Backpage CEO


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  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by vux984 on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:04AM

    by vux984 (5045) on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:04AM (#452824)

    Consenting adults. License, tax and monitor it. Who cares?

    1) That's not going to stop sex trafficking of children.

    2) And as for adults, sure, but you better make DAMNED SURE its between actual consenting adults, and not between one adult who is consenting, and one adult who has been lured into the work under false pretenses and/or and has been threatened to have her family butchered if she doesn't "consent". That might be implied by your 'license, tax, and monitor' or it might not... as there is a demographic who gets off on it being exactly that situation and who would seek out human traffickers with coerced 'sex slaves' even if they could get it legally around the corner. They aren't buying simple sexual gratification, they are seeking that whole power trip, and they're not going to get it at the local legal regulated brothel, even if it existed.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:15AM (#452826)

    they are seeking that whole power trip

    They can't get that from a consensual BDSM experience?

    And let me remind you that we can't test your hypothesis in places where prostitution is illegal. If the John just wants sex and not a power trip, they still have to violate the law. We just have to take your esteemed word for it that they are seeking the power trip. Sure, you could compare it to continued trafficking in legalized countries, but other factors may be involved.

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:43AM

      by vux984 (5045) on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:43AM (#452861)

      They can't get that from a consensual BDSM experience?

      No.

      Sure, you could compare it to continued trafficking in legalized countries

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Nevada [wikipedia.org]

      "Despite there being a legal option, the vast majority of prostitution in Nevada takes place illegally in Reno and Las Vegas."

      This doesn't really argue for or against my main point, but its still pretty surprising on some level.

      This on the other hand is interesting reading that is more connected to the argument at hand:

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X12001453 [sciencedirect.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @11:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @11:53AM (#452917)

        "Despite there being a legal option, the vast majority of prostitution in Nevada takes place illegally in Reno and Las Vegas."

        Pricing has everything to do with it. The legal brothels can be quite expensive compared to your local streetwalker.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:27AM

    by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:27AM (#452831) Journal

    OK, so the totally symbolic act of shutting down Backpage is going to stop child trafficking. /sarc

    That said, this whole child trafficking thing being pushed hard in the news recently, has the feeling of the satanic ritual abuse / recovered memory scams of the 90s.

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:49AM

      by vux984 (5045) on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:49AM (#452862)

      OK, so the totally symbolic act of shutting down Backpage is going to stop child trafficking. /sarc

      FWIW I agree. This is symbolic... pointless theatre. It's probably the 'right thing to do' but its not going to really change anything.

      That said, this whole child trafficking thing being pushed hard in the news recently, has the feeling of the satanic ritual abuse / recovered memory scams of the 90s.

      Really? I don't really see it in the news nearly that much at all. i find it kind of... hyper-cynical that you seem to imply that its not a real problem based on a sense that you hear about it 'too much'. There's certainly no shortage of real victims out there, if you are prepared to look.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @07:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @07:09AM (#452866)
      • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday January 12 2017, @09:51PM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday January 12 2017, @09:51PM (#453082)

        It's probably the 'right thing to do' but its not going to really change anything.

        It's not even the right thing to do; these people are just thugs and bullies.

        Really? I don't really see it in the news nearly that much at all. i find it kind of... hyper-cynical that you seem to imply that its not a real problem based on a sense that you hear about it 'too much'.

        The whole sex trafficking thing in general seems to be a popular excuse to curtail freedoms. Oftentimes they'll simply redefine the term so that it includes all prostitution in existence just so that they can make it appear as if there's more actual sex trafficking than there really is. It's an exaggerated problem that does exist to some extent, much like fears of terrorism.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snotnose on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:33AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Thursday January 12 2017, @03:33AM (#452832)

    1) That's not going to stop sex trafficking of children.

    What part of license and monitor don't you get? Children can't get a license. Reputable companies know they're being monitored and won't deal with children.

    What you have is 90% of the sex trade is now under control, which means law enforcement can choose who among the other 10% can be shot without consequences.

    --
    The 3 symptoms of laziness: 1) think of something tomorrow 2)
    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:34AM

      by vux984 (5045) on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:34AM (#452857)

      What part of license and monitor don't you get? Children can't get a license. Reputable companies know they're being monitored and won't deal with children.

      Then its going to have zero affect on the particular type of case referenced by the article, it was, and shall remain 'underground'.