Mayor updates public on efforts to combat sexual exploitation of children on Backpage.com

Efforts to combat sexual exploitation of children on Backpage.com  

On August 31st, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and 45 other attorneys general sent a letter to Backpage.com calling for information about the company’s stated efforts to delete advertisements for sex trafficking, particularly those that could involve minors. The attorneys general cited growing concerns of those in law enforcement that minors and others are increasingly advertised for sex on the site. Since the original announcement, two states – New York and New Jersey – have added their names to the list of those concerned. A total of 51 attorneys general, representing 48 states and three territories, are now a part of the effort. Seven Washington State mayors have also called on Backpage.Com to change their policies.

 On September 27, the attorneys general released Backpage.com’s refusal to change their existing policies, which the Seattle Police Department have identified as an accelerant for the sexual exploitation of children.

 “In light of Backpage.com’s response to the 51 attorneys general, I’d like to update you on our efforts rescue children from being sexually exploited on Backpage.com,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “On Thursday September 22, while Backpage.com was drafting its lengthy rationalization of their practices, our High Risk Victims Unit participated in a task force operation in SeaTac. We recovered three female children who were being advertised for sex on Backpage.com. Rescuing children from being sexually exploited is a top priority for our police department, but we can never get ahead of this crime while a company like Backpage.com profits from the sexual exploitation of children and uses their newsrooms to minimize the extent of the issue.

 This is unacceptable. How many more children will be exploited for profit on Backpage.com before this company changes their policies?”