General Gansler Calls on Backpage.com to Shut
Down Adult Services Section
MD ( September 21, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler
today joined 20 other state attorneys general in calling on backpage.com
to close its adult services section to fight prostitution, human
trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. The attorneys generals’ request
comes after craigslist earlier this month complied with a request
from the attorneys general that it shut down its adult services section.
Craigslist and backpage are two of the nation’s largest online
classified ad websites.
“Although we appreciate these efforts and the cooperation
the site has demonstrated since we began our investigation in 2009,
more needs to be done,” stated the attorneys generals in
a letter to backpage officials. “We are writing to request
that you immediately take down the adult services portion of backpage.
“We believe that ads for prostitution -- including ads trafficking
children-- are rampant on the site and that the volume of these
ads will grow in light of craigslist’s recent decision to
eliminate the adult services section of its site. In our view,
it is time for the company to follow craigslist’s lead and
take immediate action to end the misery of the women and children
who may be exploited and victimized by these ads. Because backpage
cannot, or will not, adequately screen these ads, it should stop
accepting them altogether.”
The attorneys generals urged the company to take steps to prevent
migration of prostitution ads into its personals section, including
charging for and manually reviewing all personals ads.
In addition to Maryland, attorneys generals from the following
states signed the letter to backpage: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware,
Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri,
Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.