TECH

Backpage Shutters Adult Ads Amid Sex Trafficking Claims

Classified advertisement website Backpage is shuttering its adult section following a US Senate report that accused it of facilitating online sex trafficking.

Backpage offers its users the ability to post classified ads, with listing categories that encompass geographical areas as well as subject areas, from jobs to real estate. One of those subject areas was called "Adult," which has now been removed from the US version of the site, Backpage said this week.

The company attributed its decision to government censorship, claiming that a nearly two-year Senate investigation into the site's involvement in sex trafficking was primarily intended to intimidate the site into shutting down.

"The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics," according to the company's statement.

After an investigation into the site, the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations published its report on Monday, which claimed that the site attempted to hide criminal activity by editing its adult ads, practices which contributed to prostitution and child sex trafficking.

"These are not the practices of an 'ally' in the fight against human trafficking," Senator Rob Portman said in a statement. "These are the practices of a corporation intent on profiting from human trafficking – and human misery – and profit they have, at the expense of countless innocent victims."

Backpage's more well-known rival Craigslist shuttered its adult section in 2010, also following government investigations into its role in sex trafficking.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.