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Liz Mc Dougall, an attorney serving as general counsel for Backpage.com, said that Backpage is an "ally in the fight against human trafficking." She said that the adult section of Backpage is closely monitored, and that shutting it down "would simply drive the trafficking underground." She said that websites like Backpage, that are able to monitor trafficking activity and report it to law enforcement, are key in the fight against human trafficking. have pointed out that the freedoms and potentially the entire fabric of the internet would be threatened if this type of free speech is prohibited on Backpage.Mc Dougall said that shutting down the service on a cooperative United States–based website would only drive trafficking to underground and international websites that are more difficult to monitor, and are often outside the jurisdiction of U. They cite both First Amendment rights of free speech guaranteed in the Constitution as well as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.They enlisted support from musicians, politicians, journalists, media companies and retailers.The campaign created a greater public dialogue, both pro and con, regarding Backpage. On October 6, 2016, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that Texas authorities had raided the Dallas headquarters of and arrested CEO Carl Ferrer at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping.In addition, they argue that by providing prompt and detailed information about postings to law enforcement when asked to do so (including phone numbers, credit card numbers and IP addresses), Backpage aids law enforcement in protecting minors from such activity.They also contend that the prompt and complete production of this information results in more convictions for illegal activities and that shutting down the adult section of Backpage will simply drive the traffickers to other places on the internet that will be less forthcoming about crucial information for law enforcement.Numerous NGOs and others contend that the potential harm done by a website that features a section for adult posting is far greater than any actions the site may take to aid law enforcement.In many cases, the critics of Backpage say that these efforts are less than is necessary or possible.
Backpage came under fire starting in 2011 for allegations that their adult services subsection was used for prostitution and human trafficking, particularly involving minors, and that the company took insufficient steps to prevent these practices.
In an amicus curiae brief, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says the efforts of Backpage are inadequate and their reporting lacked in several areas.