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Just over half of adult victims in recent Miami-Dade cases, and 40 percent of minor victims, were advertised on Backpage.com, according to prosecutors.
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.
It was affordable — 5 to 10 dollar ads, whereas many websites can charge as much as 0 to post an ad.
Backpage was accessible to people living on the streets.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 74 percent of all its child-trafficking report last year was generated from Backpage.
One 57-year-old woman from Tennessee began posting Backpage ads for erotic massages nine years ago, a move necessitated by a faltering economy. She spent 0 to 0 for advertising on websites such as The Erotic Review, earning up to ,000 for just a few days’ work. Not all women, however, are independent, willing participants in a state that draws visitors from across the globe.
In response, Craigslist — which remained a popular hub of prostitution — took down its personal ads for users in the United States.
Several other popular escort sites also shut down in response to the bill’s passage.
The moves are again stirring debate among law enforcement and victim advocates about how aggressively to go after websites such as Backpage, which until recently generally responded to subpoenas and cooperated with police seeking information on traffickers and underage victims. They operated so blatantly,” said Miami Beach Police Capt.
Daniel Morgalo, head of the street crimes unit, who acknowledged detectives will have to find new ways to combat trafficking.