The dirty business of child sex trafficking is rapidly migrating to the Internet, due to the accessibility and anonymity of websites like Craigslist.com, Backpage.com, and Myredbook.com that allow ads for “adult services.” It is well known that these ads mask child and adult sexual exploitation and that big money is being made.
Advocates like Shared Hope International have railed against the injustice of the protections provided to online facilitators of sex trafficking through the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) immunities that block civil actions by victims and preempt state criminal prosecutions. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) has repeatedly challenged Attorney General Holder to bring federal prosecutions against the online classified giant Backpage.com. Recently Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the SAVE Act and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) is poised to drop his own version; both are intended to bring liability to online facilitators of child sex trafficking.
The dam may have broken!
Last week the FBI and the IRS shut down Myredbook.com – the fifth highest revenue generator from sex advertisements – while they investigate possible money laundering of cash gained from racketeering based on prostitution. Websites that promote prostitution create a dangerous platform for sex traffickers leaving trafficked children more hidden and vulnerable and drive the demand for sex acts. Demand thrives on these websites.
This investigation may be a chink in the extensive armor these companies have built around themselves including half-hearted efforts at self-regulation as well as strident opposition to victim compensation and state laws that would empower state prosecutors to stop trafficking in their own jurisdictions. The Justice Department, stymied from prosecuting these sites for trafficking due to evidence gaps, may have finally found a way to begin dismantling these criminal enterprises.
The reaction of one buyer of the sex acts being sold on these sites (as expressed on usasexguide.info) says it all: “Holy S**t. Look what happened. Try to click on myredbook.com.”