GOP bill looks to shut down sex ads on Backpage.com

Greg Nash

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) this week introduced a bill that would criminalize advertisements for sex and escort services, which Wagner said perpetuate child sex slavery.

Wagner's Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act, H.R. 4225, is aimed at websites like Backpage.com, a frequent target of legislators trying to end prostitution and sex slavery in the country. She said these websites post ads for escort services, which she said are "de facto prostitution services" that lead to the sexual trafficking of minors.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Online classified services, such as Backpage.com, have become the vehicles for advertising the victims of the child sex trade to the world," Wagner said Thursday. "Companies that base their business models off of profits made by selling sex with children should not be allowed to operate."

The SAVE Act would criminalize ads for sex services, which Wagner said would reduce the "sexual victimization of vulnerable children in the United States."

In 2012, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Robert Turner (R-N.Y.) introduced a resolution calling on the owner of Backpage.com to end its adult entertainment section. It was passed in the Senate, but didn't move in the House.

Also in 2012, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the link between Backpage.com and child sex trafficking.

More in Senate

Durbin: US should lift embargos against Cuba

Read more »