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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 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: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @04:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @04:22PM (#452966)

    What you are seeing here is the usual prohibition tactics: take an activity that is not in itself harmful, use some extreme example of criminality or "bad stuff" associated with this activity in a very small percentage of cases, and prohibit all legitimate, non-harmful cases by saying they are ALL just like the extreme cases.

    I can reduce it to the word "demonizing." In Sweden, the have demonized male prostitution customers and now only THEY are the criminals, not even the prostitutes who are plying their trade, as if they play no part in the affair. It has been reduced in those countries to "men are a problem." As a thought experiment, imagine if people could -sell- weed and keep the money, but if you buy it, -you- get arrested. Insane.

    If only we could HONESTLY study past and current examples of prostitution and compare outcomes where it is legal and illegal and make make informed decisions...

    I think we need to recognize that there are different ways to be a prostitute, and some are better than others.
    Streetwalkers are the worst. They are exposed to more danger and generally the most messed up women are in this type of prostitution. I have no problem with outlawing this by regulation.

    Trading sex for money is as old as humanity. It is even respectable as long as you marry your rich sugar daddy. As an example, I give you Donald Trump's wives. (Not picking on Donald in particular.)

    Go after the thugs in the business and leave the rest alone, I say.

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