President Trump signed a legislation of SESTA/FOSTA with human trafficking survivors standing around him. Some of these were the young women depicted in the film I Am Jane Doe, one was a mother of a daughter who was killed through sex trafficking, and others are long time survivors who have worked to help other victims such as Theresa Flores of SOAP.
The legislation is to help victims and state prosecutors to sue websites that allow the sale of people who are exploited sexually.
After the SESTA bill was approved, Backpage was completely shut down by the FBI since it facilitated crimes of human trafficking, since nearly ever sex trafficking involve mainly Backpage ads. 73% of child trafficking reports were linked to Backpage; brought up by National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.
To follow-up, the founders of Backpage, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, as well as five others who are associated with Backpage, were indicted, since their website was equated as a brothel. The founders had 93 indictments against them. You can see the list of indictments at this website at the bottom of the article. The five others were released.
The CEO of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, pleaded guilty in CA, AZ, and TX for money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate prostitution. He will testify against Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. He is the one who has admitted to help rework wording for ads to sell people. There were many emojis and characters and ways to express what was for sale in the escort section of the website. For many years Mr. Ferrer had denied that Backpage was involved in such activities, but he states now, “I have long been aware, that the great majority of these advertisements are, in fact, advertisements for prostitution services, which are not protected by the First Amendment and which are illegal in 49 states and in much of Nevada.”