To absolutely no one’s surprise, the creators the online trade and sell marketplace Backpage are being indicted for allowing prostitution, and also assisting users in promoting the sex trade while hiding their revenue. As reported by TIME, Backpage founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin allowed ads for sex to be run on the site, and in some cases, they helped users to modify their ads to stay within legal restrictions while attempting to sell sex discreetly. Authorities have sized the website, and any pages connected to it.
According to The Washington Post, the indictment cites 17 victims the sex trade that were trafficked through Backpage. Included in the list victims were children as young as 14 years old. Allegedly, $500 million in revenue has been accumulated by the website in the last 14 years. In 2013, about $112 million in revenue was generated through the site, and over $134 million was garnered in 2014.
According to The Post, the indictment states, “Many the ads published on Backpage depicted children who were victims sex trafficking. Although Backpage has sought to create the perception that it diligently attempts to prevent the publication such ads, the reality is that Backpage has allowed such ads to be published while declining — for financial reasons — to take necessary steps to address the problem.”