Feds take Backpage.com, known for sex ads, offline

The US Congress has passed a bill that aims to make it easier to bring criminal charges against websites that knowingly facilitate or promote sex trafficking

Feds take Backpage.com, known for sex ads, offline

The front door of Backpage.com, as of April 6, 2018.

On Friday an electronic sticker was slapped onto the online classified ad site, stating it has been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. postal inspectors and the IRS. A Washington Post investigation past year found that Backpage was using a contractor in the Philippines to contact prostitutes on other websites, seeking to lure their ads to Backpage and creating the ads for those prostitutes in advance.

Since Craigslist shut down its "Adult Services" section in 2010, Backpage has attracted greater prominence and income.

The notice doesn't give a reason for the seizure, just saying that it is "part of an enforcement action by the FBI, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division".

A popular online sex marketplace has been seized by federal investigators.

The site is known for facilitating adult sex ads, and has recently been involved in a number of lawsuits, including one in which a minor alleged that the company edited the contents of a sex ad that her trafficker posted, in order to make her sound like an adult.

This isn't the first time Backpage has run into issues with the law. It said authorities plan to release information about the enforcement action later Friday.

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in Phoenix confirmed Friday that "law enforcement activity is occurring" at the Sedona home of Backpage founder Michael Lacey. The FBI confirmed that "law enforcement activity is occurring" and referred further questions to the Justice Department.

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