Backpage was a classified advertising website. Since it had looser (more free market) rules, naturally it was used for things like people exchanging cash for sex, among its many other classifieds. Since the media and the left hates personal liberty, under the Obama administration (2018) the Department of Justice shut down Backpage.com, and arrested and charged the founders, under the bogus claim that they were intentionally exploiting Women (Sex Trafficking) and Children. But memo's obtained by Reason, showed that in an earlier investigation (2012), Backpage and their founders had been actively helping the Government in every way asked to end any sexual exploitation of women or children. To quote, "unlike virtually every other website that is used for prostitution and sex trafficking, Backpage is remarkably responsive to law enforcement requests and often takes proactive steps to assist in investigations"... so the whole 2018 attack against them was bogus and suppressed exculpatory evidence. The founders were arrested not because of their actions, but because their platform enabled freedoms that the Obama administration didn't approve of.
|Backpage (Craigslist clone) was supporting sex trafficking and child exploitation, and the heroes in the Obama DOJ came in, arrested the founders and stopped it. A great accomplishment.
|Backpage was used for hookups or paid sexual encounters, but the website was not doing anything illegal. Not only were they not trafficking or exploiting Children, they were actively helping the Government find those that were, but the Obama DOJ suppressed that evidence, seized their assets (so they couldn't pay their legal bills) and arrested the founders anyway.
The core claim against Backpage was that Backpage was uniquely negligent in this capacity, and completely indifferent to the plight of victims, and actively encouraged sex traffickers to use the site.
The facts are that unlike Facebook, or other places that actively thwarted and slow-tracked law enforcement request, Backpage offered "a goldmine of information for investigators," and as not by law enforcement the staff would respond to subpoenas within the same day; "with respect to any child exploitation investigation, Backpage often provides records within the hour."
To summarize the reports:
"Witnesses have consistently testified that Backpage was making substantial efforts to prevent criminal conduct on its site, that it was coordinating efforts with law enforcement agencies and NCMEC [the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children], and that it was conducting its businesses in accordance with legal advice," wrote Swaminathan and McNeil in 2013. Furthermore, they noted, their investigation failed "to uncover compelling evidence of criminal intent or a pattern or reckless conduct regarding minors." In fact, it "revealed a strong economic incentive for Backpage to rid its site of juvenile prostitution." And the money shot, "Backpage genuinely wanted to get child prostitution off of its site."
Certainly, Backpage did help with adult classifieds, including implied prostitution hookups. While unsavory to many, those ads are inconvenient for moral preeners, but aren't technically illegal. More than that, the legality and illegality of that is a state and local issue, and certainly not a National or Constitutional one: thus the Fed and DOJ had no place in this.
I don't mind or care if people are against Backpage and the services they offered. That's a personal choice issue. What I care about is that the Federal Government was way over-reaching federal power, outright abusing power, lying and abusing their Justice powers under the Obama Administration. And this should concern every liberal or liberty centric person. But of course, the modern left are more pro-Authoritarian than they are Pro-Liberty, or this would outrage them and their media.