Wolf to Feds: Investigate Backpage for Sex Trafficking
Congressman Frank Wolf wants Attorney General Eric Holder to open an investigation into online forum.
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10th district) has written to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to consider prosecuting Backpage.com, an online forum which traffickers have used to prostitute underage girls.
“Most Americans would be horrified to know that human trafficking isn’t simply relegated to distant lands, rather it is happening right here at home,” wrote Wolf, who represents part of Centreville. “It is happening to our sisters, our daughters and our friends with devastating implications."
Wolf's letter comes just days after U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride announced that charges were filed against five members of the Underground Gangster Crips—who authorities said had trafficked teenage girls throughout Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.
"Just last week, in my area, five northern Virginian men with alleged ties to the Underground Gangster Crips gang were arrested and charged with sex trafficking," Wolf wrote, referencing the arrests. "The local teenage girls they victimized were allegedly recruited on Web sites like Facebook and then, according to a Washington Post story that reported on the arrests, ‘The teens were advertised on Web sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com, according to court records…’ Here again, we see Backpage.com in the spotlight. When will this end?”
A glance at Backpage shows thousands of listings for "escorts" in the metro area. While much of the materiel posted is legal, authorities have in the past called the website a hub for prostitution and human trafficking.
Though Backpage, owned by Village Voice media, has long been the target for anti-trafficking activists, it has increasingly been in the news over the past two weeks. New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof called it the "biggest forum for sex trafficking of under-age girls in the United States" in a recent column.