The online classified website Backpage.com said it has suspended its adult ad pages, citing government pressure about the content being shared there.
A 2016 Senate report called the website the "largest commercial sex services advertising platform in the United States" and said that "Backpage officials have publicly acknowledged that criminals use the website for sex trafficking, including trafficking of minors."
Sex trafficking of minors and others coerced into prostitution is only possible when there is a market. According to the advocacy group Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking, one way to stem that demand is to get workplaces involved.
Law enforcement authorities in King County have announced a major change in how they go after prostitution. They said they plan to stop targeting prostituted women, and train their sites instead on the men paying for sex.
Police and advocates say prostituted women have long been targeted for arrest – 10 times more often than the buyers, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Men who are convicted of paying for sex with minors are unlikely to serve much time behind bars, says the finding of new research conducted by Arizona State University and released by Shared Hope International, an organization trying to stop sex trafficking.
The study examined 134 cases in Seattle, Phoenix, Portland and Baltimore-Washington, D.C.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and 45 other attorneys general today called for information about how Backpage.com presumably attempts to remove advertising for sex trafficking, especially ads that could involve minors.
Meanwhile, Snohomish County has received a $450,000 federal grant to combat child sex trafficking.