Feds shut down controversial classified ad website on prostitution, sex trafficking charges

The controversial classified website backpage.com is now closed for business after federal authorities took down the site accused of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking.

Backpage.com let users create posts to sell items even list upcoming events or job openings but it is mostly known for prostitution among adults but also trafficking children.

That's something Channel 2 Action News reported as recently as last month in Cobb County where police found prostitutes as young as 14 years old inside a Marietta motel. Police say the teens were forced to create ads on backpage.com.


Now, the website has the weight of the federal government on it. 

"Lots of companies who host other people, who communicate through them, are really going to be watchful for to see how far this goes because it's not just an unpopular website like backpage, but will it affect other websites that maybe are kind of on the line," said Channel 2 legal analyst Esther Panitch.

Advocates for victims of sex trafficking say the takedown  is a step in the right direction. 

“More victims started coming forward and saying this is happening to me and I think people started recognizing they had a problem. The issue that is going on with backpage is them being held accountable for basically allowing men to exploit and rape minors," said advocate Kasey McClure, who founded 4sarah.net.