John McCain, R-Ariz., and an outspoken critic of human trafficking, said she had heard that federal law enforcement officials had raided not only Lacey's home, but every Backpage office worldwide. If you try and go to the site, you'll be welcomed with a statement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation instead, which reads...
The website posting said U.S. lawyers in Arizona and California, as well as the Justice Department's section on child exploitation and obscenity and the California and Texas attorneys general had helped shut down the website.
Check out the site's notice (below) and we'll continue to keep you posted moving forward. IL is among the states lining up against Backpage.com, with Cook County sheriff Tom Dart leading a charge for the last decade to stop the website, saying it was a pimping service and a purveyor of child sex crimes.
Reuters was unable to reach representatives of Backpage for comment. The notice states that the Justice Department planned to provide more information at 6PM EST today, but no formal press release or statements have been published. In the posting about the seizure, the department had originally said more information would be made public on Friday evening.
Lacy, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, and former owner James Larkin had pimping charges dismissed in 2016.
Last month, however, the Senate approved bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.
Backpage has affiliates across the country and around the world, and by 2014 brought in annual revenue of US$135 million, The New York Times has reported.
Backpage has said such ads are constitutionally protected free speech.
While a Senate report in 2017 alleged that Backpage was concealing evidence of sex trafficking, people who say they work in the sex industry by choice argue that the site helps them stay safe. It is awaiting President Trump's signature. Embedded within adult sex ads on websites are a certain number of solicitations for children, anti-sex-trafficking groups have said.