Sex Workers Warn Of Danger After Feds Shut Down Backpage.com

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PHOENIX - Federal law enforcement authorities are in the process of seizing online classified site Backpage.com and its affiliated websites.

Federal authorities on Friday shut down and seized Backpage.com, a classifieds website that has drawn intense scrutiny for its sex ads, some of which included teenagers.

The notice did not detail the reason for the seizure but noted that Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as well as the offices of the Texas attorney general and California attorney general, were involved.

Its problems didn't stem from the pets for sale section, but the personal ads - what a Senate subcommittee a year ago considered as people for sale, knowingly aiding in prostitution and child sex trafficking.

Check out the site's notice (below) and we'll continue to keep you posted moving forward.

Supporters hailed the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) as a major victory, but the measure is not without its critics: some say it would undermine a basic underpinning of the internet, which enables websites to host information from 3rd parties without liability.

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Lacy, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, and former owner James Larkin had pimping charges dismissed in 2016.

More information is expected Friday afternoon.

A representative from Backpage could not be reached for comment on Friday. The bill passed the Senate in an overwhelming 97-2 vote this week and will now head to President Trump's desk for him to sign into law.

Backpage brought its owners $135 million in revenue in 2014 alone, according to the New York Times.

Backpage.com, the popular classified ads website, appeared to be offline Friday, posting a message that it had been seized and disabled by the federal government.

The Supreme Court in January 2017 refused to consider reviving a lawsuit against Backpage that was filed by three young women, who accused it of facilitating their forced prostitution. Most of its income is generated by ads for sex services. The judge in the case ruled the website was protected by the First Amendment, and it was not liable for the speech of third parties.

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