Backpage Forced to Shutdown Site’s Adult Section 0

ckpage.com, one of the world’s largest classified ad websites and a frequent target in the political battle against sex trafficking, closed its adult ads section Monday in the United States, claiming to be the victim of a government witch hunt.

The extraordinary move came shortly after the release of a scathing U.S. Senate report that accused Backpage of hiding criminal activity by deleting terms from ads that indicated sex trafficking or prostitution, including of children.

 The abrupt closure came on the eve of the scheduled testimony of Backpage’s founders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, and the site’s CEO, Carl Ferrer, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ subcommittee on investigations.

The Senate panel issued the report after an acrimonious investigation. Backpage balked at a subpoena to turn over company materials to investigators, but the panel secured a federal court order to force compliance.

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