In recent years, those charged include a local Spanish-language singer , a man who forced a runaway teen to tattoo his street name on her eyelids and a businessman who lured girls from Kazakhstan with the false promise of working at a yoga studio. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 74 percent of all its child-trafficking report last year was generated from Backpage.
Just over half of adult victims in recent Miami-Dade cases, and 40 percent of minor victims, were advertised on Backpage. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has been outspoken against Backpage; her office filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed last year by trafficking victims against the website. The state later filed new charges against the men, this time charging them with money laundering.
The trial is still pending. Efforts against Backpage mounted in January , when a U. Senate report blasted the site for facilitating criminal activity. Miami Beach has shut down four massage parlors where police believe women may have been forced into sex work. The pressure ramped up last month when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which amends federal law to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to go after website operators who knowingly allow third-parties to post ads that facilitate prostitution.
Critics say the law, which has yet to be signed into effect by President Trump, is overly broad and will stifle free online speech. In response, Craigslist — which remained a popular hub of prostitution — took down its personal ads for users in the United States.
Hopefully we can bring them back some day. Three days later, the U. Authorities also accuse Backpage of laundering the ill-gotten money through unrelated companies, foreign banks and cryptocurrency. That has left those in the sex industry scrambling, creating group chats, private social media pages and messaging app chains to share info on what sites are up and running. Websites based overseas are largely out of the reach of U. New clients, however, have not caught up. By David Ovalle dovalle miamiherald.
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This is a crisis for sex workers — Valerie Scott. Follow Tavia Grant on Twitter taviagrant. Report an error Editorial code of conduct. Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles.
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