Backpage.com has been seized by federal authorities. Advocates say this is a huge step in the fight to end human trafficking.
A website long accused of promoting the sex industry has been shut down and the creators have been charged with facilitating prostitution. Backpage.com has been seized by federal authorities. Advocates say this is a huge step in the fight to end human trafficking.
Backpage launched in 2004 and has been known as the go-to place to buy sex. Victims have been bought and sold on this website, but now if you login you'll see a message from several federal authorities including the FBI.
Officials at Backpage have denied knowingly facilitating sex trafficking and officials insist the company helps authorities track down victims of illegal activity.
It's always hard to know the exact number of trafficking cases, but the Center for Youth has identified between 200 and 300 kids who are victims of sex trafficking or are at risk right here in the Rochester area.
Melanie Blow is a part of Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She says this is a step in the right direction, but it won't stop trafficking altogether.
"The demand is still going to be there," Blow said. "The vulnerable children, the vulnerable young adults are still going to be there and as long as that combination exists people will find another way to exploit them."
Blow says there is not a simple solution to end this form of abuse, but she says an investment from state and federal authorities must invest into resources to strengthen the fight.
"We know that human trafficking is very strongly tied to child abuse, neglect, maltreatment and foster care," Blow said. "Those are all things we can fix but we need to do it."
Blow says without Backpage, law enforcement and advocates will have to get more creative to identify victims of trafficking.
The classified section of Craigslist.com has also been shut down. She recommends everyone identify signs of sex trafficking so you can join the fight against it.
For more information on the signs of human trafficking, visit this link.