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Noem, Wolf Lead 44 Members in Demanding Holder Take Immediate Action Against Backpage.com

by
South Dakota Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem (Noem.sd.gov)
South Dakota Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem (Noem.sd.gov)

Washington, D.C. (KELO-AM) – Representatives Kristi Noem and Frank Wolf today led 44 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder take immediate action to combat human trafficking and put an end to Backpage.com’s facilitation of the buying and selling of sexual services, many of which involve underage victims.

“Every year, tens of thousands of children are victims of sex trafficking in the United States,” read the letter.  “Not coincidentally, Backpage.com makes millions of dollars in profit annually from the fees charged for online advertisements, including essentially unchecked advertising of children for sex services…. We cannot continue to allow websites like Backpage.com to profit from the unlawful exploitation of minors. We ask that you pursue and prosecute these grotesque actions and where laws are unclear or insufficient, provide recommendations to Congress.”

Backpage.com is the leading U.S. website for prostitution advertising, generating millions of dollars every month for the sale of online ads for prostitution.  Some of those sold are young children.

Congresswoman Noem recently convened an anti-trafficking forum in South Dakota and has emerged as a leader on this issue in Congress, having been appointed to the Majority Leader’s anti-trafficking taskforce.  Representative Wolf, in his capacity as chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations subcommittee which funds the Justice Department and the FBI, has prioritized funding for anti-trafficking initiatives and has pressed the Department to more aggressively pursue classified advertising on the Internet, which serves as a conduit for the buying and selling of human beings, including children.

To view a full copy of the letter to Attorney General Holder, please see below.

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The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.Attorney GeneralU.S. Department of Justice950 Pennsylvania Ave NW Rm 5111Washington DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We are writing to ask you to take immediate action to combat human trafficking putting an end to Backpage.com’s facilitation of the buying and selling of people, including young children. We cannot continue to allow websites like Backpage.com to profit from the unlawful exploitation of minors. We ask that you pursue and prosecute these grotesque actions and where laws are unclear or insufficient, provide recommendations to Congress.

Every year, tens of thousands of children are victims of sex trafficking in the United States. Not coincidentally, Backpage.com makes millions of dollars in profit annually from the fees charged for online advertisements, including essentially unchecked advertising of children for sex services.

In a July 23, 2013 letter to Members of Congress, the National Association of Attorneys General described a case where a man used Backpage.com to advertise sex services from a 13-year-old girl. He tattooed his name on her eyelids to mark her as his property. We must do more to stop this website and websites like it from acting as a medium for these activities. Waiting until more women, men, and children are victimized is unacceptable.

The U.S. Department of Justice must get serious about putting an end to Backpage.com’s facilitation of the trafficking of children. Their profit from the forced exploitation of young children is disgusting and demands your immediate action. We ask for a response by March 31, 2014 detailing how your Department will take legal action against the website or give Congress concrete recommendations for legislation needed to give your Department the tools to do so.

As members of Congress committed to ending this horrific practice, we stand ready to make any necessary changes in the law to ensure that our children are protected.

  Permalink: http://noem.house.gov/index.cfm/2014/3/noem-wolf-lead-44-members-in-demanding-holder-take-immediate-action-against-backpage-com   Related Files

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