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Public Statements

Letter to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States - Do More To Fight Sex Trafficking

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We are writing to ask you to take immediate action to combat human trafficking putting an end to Backpage.com's facilitation of the buying and selling of people, including young children. We cannot continue to allow websites like Backpage.com to profit from the unlawful exploitation of minors. We ask that you pursue and prosecute these grotesque actions and where laws are unclear or insufficient, provide recommendations to Congress.

Every year, tens of thousands of children are victims of sex trafficking in the United States. Not coincidentally, Backpage.com makes millions of dollars in profit annually from the fees charged for online advertisements, including essentially unchecked advertising of children for sex services.

In a July 23, 2013 letter to Members of Congress, the National Association of Attorneys General described a case where a man used Backpage.com to advertise sex services from a 13-year-old girl. He tattooed his name on her eyelids to mark her as his property. We must do more to stop this website and websites like it from acting as a medium for these activities. Waiting until more women, men, and children are victimized is unacceptable.

The U.S. Department of Justice must get serious about putting an end to Backpage.com's facilitation of the trafficking of children. Their profit from the forced exploitation of young children is disgusting and demands your immediate action. We ask for a response by March 31, 2014 detailing how your Department will take legal action against the website or give Congress concrete recommendations for legislation needed to give your Department the tools to do so.

As members of Congress committed to ending this horrific practice, we stand ready to make any necessary changes in the law to ensure that our children are protected.


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