Once again, although Backpage has sought to create the perception that it diligently attempts to prevent the publication of such ads, the reality is that Backpage has allowed such ads to be published while declining -- for financial reasons -- to take necessary steps to address the problem. The bill, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law this week, amends the Communications Decency Act, which largely shielded website operators from state criminal charges or civil liability if they were facilitating sex ads or prostitution. A two-year Senate investigation into online sex trafficking found that found that Backpage.
The lawsuit represents a major takedown of a "gigantic marketplace of online prostitution" by directly targeting those who facilitate the crime, a Justice Department official said. Backpage creators indicted on prostitution and money laundering charges The Justice Department announced Monday that seven people associated with Backpage. Last month, Congress passed legislation that makes it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue website operators that facilitate online sex trafficking. Paul Cambria, an attorney for Lacey, called the charges "baseless" and said the seizure of his client's website represents a "massive assault on the First Amendment," a reference to the part of the U. Last Friday, the Department of Justice seized Backpage, and it can no longer be used by criminals to promote and facilitate human trafficking. In addition to charging Larkin and Lacey, the indictment also charged Backpage. In the indictment, the U. Attorneys for the remaining defendants could not immediately be reached. Michael Piccarreta, a lawyer for Padilla, said his client was employed by a company that hosted third-party content. He is no more responsible than the owner of a community billboard when someone places an ad on it," he said. The company has been targeted with several lawsuits over the years but has been largely protected by Section of the Communications Decency Act, a legal protection that gives a broad layer of immunity to online companies from being held liable for user-generated content. Attorneys for Larkin could not immediately be reached. Prosecutors also alleged that the website's employees sought to actively mislead the public about its sincerity of efforts to prevent prostitution ads. Once again, although Backpage has sought to create the perception that it diligently attempts to prevent the publication of such ads, the reality is that Backpage has allowed such ads to be published while declining -- for financial reasons -- to take necessary steps to address the problem. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and advocacy groups have long called for an investigation into Backpage. To prove sex trafficking, prosecutors would need to show each individual ad either involved a minor, or featured an adult who was selling sex through force or coercion. Two days after the Senate approval, Backpage competitor Craigslist removed its personal ads section. The legislation would create an exception to Section , which would pave the way for victims of sex trafficking to hold websites accountable for facilitating abuse. In one case, a young teenager was sold for sex on the site with ads that included code words for certain sex acts. A Justice Department official said the case against Backpage does not rely on sex trafficking charges, but rather on charges connected to prostitution, which are easier to prosecute. He added that his client has since been released on his own recognizance. The department announced the news Monday afternoon after a federal judge in Arizona unsealed a count indictment against Backpage creators Michael Lacey and James Larkin, and five others. The individuals are not being directly charged with commercial sex exploitation, but Backpage's involvement in facilitating prostitution was "no mistake" the official said, adding that the site turned a "blind eye" to sex trafficking that resulted from ads on the web pages. Constitution that protects free speech. Companies are supposed to act in good faith to protect users but critics argue it can be used as a shield. Another year-old girl was forced to do in-calls at hotels. The indictment said that in private, Lacey "bragged about the company's contributions to the prostitution industry, writing in one internal document 'Backpage is part of the solution.
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