The Investigators

Mar 14, 2014 6:50 PM by Tom McNamara and Paul Birmingham

N4T Investigators: Congress seeks crackdown against online sex-trafficking

Online human sex-trafficking is an issue the News 4 Tucson investigators have been following closely. Now, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for immediate action against one online site, that some have called a "hub for sex-trafficking."

The site we're talking about, backpage.com, has come under fire in the past several years. Lawmakers say it provides essentially unchecked advertisements for adult services. And, they say some of those services are provided by victims of human trafficking.

Republican congressman Paul Gosar, D.D.S., along with more than two-dozen other representatives sent a letter this week to the Justice Department asking for immediate action against the online advertising site.

"The letter asks Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice look at the unmitigated aspects of backpage.com, which has been one of the subservient hubs for sex-trafficking, and in this case, particularly sexual exploitation," Gosar says.

Representative Gosar also tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, human trafficking isn't a merely an issue for republicans or democrats.

"What we want to make sure is we're doing everything on our part on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the law," Gosar says.

Gosar says cracking down on backpage.com is especially important right now, given the fact that Arizona will host the Super Bowl next year, making it prime-time for online human traffickers.

"The whole point is that in the U.S., we should be a place for freedom and opportunity, and not a note of oppression and despair with sex-trafficking," Gosar says.

Gosar and the others are asking for a response to the letter by the end of this month.

Backpage.com officials didn't respond to the News 4 Tucson Investigator's request for an interview. Though in the past, they have said they "do their best to provide a safe, legal environment for customers to post classified ads."

If you have something you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to check out, email us, at investigators@ kvoa.com, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at 955-4444.

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