Forty-six attorneys general – including Hawaii Attorney General David Louie – have given Backpage.com until September 14, 2011, to prove it is preventing children from getting trafficked through its classified advertisements.
However, Village Voice Media, the owner of web site, has asked for – and been granted – a 9-day extension to file its response, according to a spokesperson for the Hawaii Attorney General office.
Backpage.com openly promises to connect its clients with everything from escorts, body rubs, strippers, strip clubs, and domination and fetish to transsexuals, male escorts, and pornographic web sites its adult services section.
Investigators in Washington state, Missouri and Connecticut say they have uncovered hundreds of ads on its regional sites for illegal services. And they have documented more than 50 cases in 22 states that involve the trafficking of minors.
Hawaii Attorney General David Louie called the site a “beacon for human traffickers.”
Specifically the letter sent on August 31 asks that the company “substantiate the claim that the company enforces policies to prevent illegal activity, describe its understanding of what constitutes illegal activity, and clarify whether advertisements for prostitution fall into that category.”
States signing on to the letter include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and the territory of Guam.
Authorities in Arizona are already raiding one so called “temple” advertising on Backpage.com.
On September 9, law enforcement officials arrest 30 people at the “Phoenix Goddess Temple” in what they are calling the largest prostitution bust since 2008.
The 10,000 square-foot alleged brothel claimed to offer religious services in exchange for donations, the police told ABC News.
ABC News reports: “Temple Goddess employees had been trained to use evasive vocabulary… teachings were described as ‘body centric’ … . The homepage “invites” customers to ‘relax deeply’ in a ‘candle-lit Transformation Chamber,’ and ‘feel the magnetic polarity between men and women’ … ‘sessions’ claim to heal sexual blockages … the ‘temple’ offered Friday night sex-ed classes, featuring such topics as ‘Tantra 101’ and ‘Toys for Big Girls and Boys.'”