On Friday, the U.S. government shut down and seized Backpage.com, the classified advertising website that has been accused of facilitating sex trafficking. According to a notice posted on the website, Backpage.com was seized as part of an enforcement action by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
U.S. Senator Robert Portman praised the action against the website, saying that Backpage.com was "the market leader in commercial-sex advertising that has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including trafficking of children."
The government's action follows closely on the heels of the Senate's passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act ("SESTA"), which is expected to be signed into law by the President shortly. Among other things, SESTA amends Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to allow the government to prosecute websites for violation of sex trafficking laws.