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District Court of Arizona on Monday. This screen grab from Monday shows the notice posted on Backpage. The site ran escort ads in cities across Canada. It was regularly used by law enforcement to search for and contact those they suspected were being trafficked. She says the move will drive activity further underground, making it much more difficult to screen clients. You begin working in out-of-the-way, dark areas.

The client is in control: Others, such as Cynthia Bland, founder and CEO of Ottawa-based Voicefound, an organization that works to prevent commercial sexual exploitation, applauded the shutdown. Bland, who is a survivor of child sexual abuse. In Canada, an average of 1, new adult-services ads which include female escorts and body rubs were posted on Backpage every day, according to an estimate last year by Uncharted Software, a Toronto-based data visualization firm.

By its count, Backpage hosted about 60 per cent of all the online adult ads in Canada, making it the largest provider in the country. Online sex ads have already migrated to other sites, which Toronto police are monitoring. Backpage stood out for how overt the ads were, she added. And that unto itself is an enormous problem. Still, some say the crackdown will make conditions less safe for self-employed sex workers who are there of their own volition.

Backpage is just a platform, Ms. We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions. She was earning a couple thousand dollars a month. By no means am I rich.

For Bella, a year-old sex worker from northern Florida, the business was lucrative. She also used another website that screened clients. Both sites have now stopped taking ads from the United States. I am college educated. I have a family. I have a husband. Not all women, however, are independent, willing participants in a state that draws visitors from across the globe.

In Miami-Dade, posts on Backpage have resulted in many high-profile human trafficking cases. In recent years, those charged include a local Spanish-language singer , a man who forced a runaway teen to tattoo his street name on her eyelids and a businessman who lured girls from Kazakhstan with the false promise of working at a yoga studio.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 74 percent of all its child-trafficking report last year was generated from Backpage. Just over half of adult victims in recent Miami-Dade cases, and 40 percent of minor victims, were advertised on Backpage. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has been outspoken against Backpage; her office filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed last year by trafficking victims against the website.

The state later filed new charges against the men, this time charging them with money laundering. The trial is still pending. Efforts against Backpage mounted in January , when a U. Senate report blasted the site for facilitating criminal activity. Miami Beach has shut down four massage parlors where police believe women may have been forced into sex work. The pressure ramped up last month when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which amends federal law to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to go after website operators who knowingly allow third-parties to post ads that facilitate prostitution.

Critics say the law, which has yet to be signed into effect by President Trump, is overly broad and will stifle free online speech. In response, Craigslist — which remained a popular hub of prostitution — took down its personal ads for users in the United States.

Hopefully we can bring them back some day. Three days later, the U. Authorities also accuse Backpage of laundering the ill-gotten money through unrelated companies, foreign banks and cryptocurrency. That has left those in the sex industry scrambling, creating group chats, private social media pages and messaging app chains to share info on what sites are up and running.

Websites based overseas are largely out of the reach of U. New clients, however, have not caught up.

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