Sen. Rob Portman stands up in fight against online sex trafficking

Portman and other senators released a report claiming Backpage.com editors hid information indicating victims were underage

Senators are coming after Backpage.com, claiming editors knew sex trafficking victims were underage.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – An Ohio lawmaker said efforts to stop the online trafficking of women for sex is far from over, even though lawmakers took a major step this week.

Facing growing pressure from Washington, Backpage.com closed down its “adult advertising section” on Tuesday. Within that section of the website, women, and even young girls, could be sold for sex.

A Senate sub-committee, led in part by Ohio’s Rob Portman, issued a report on the website recently. It claims Backpage editors were manipulating ads and deleting information that would indicate victims were underage.

Full Backpage.com Senate report (PDF)

Portman said while the company needs to be held accountable, he admitted it’s already too late for some victims.

“My concern is, of course, these ads are going to migrate to other sites. So we also have to go after those other sites with legislative changes to be sure they can’t hide behind some well-intentioned immunities that are in the law when they’re actually, knowingly, selling kids online.”

This week’s sub-committee report said Backpage grew to become a half-billion dollar company through its work with human traffickers.

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