Backpage, the longtime classified ads sites best known for users selling all kinds of wares, has been shut down by the Justice Department. The website has been an alleged haven for prostitution and sex trafficking, and a co-founder of the website was arrested and slapped with still unknown charges.
The classified ads website Backpage.com has been seized by federal law enforcement agencies, according to a banner that popped up on the site Friday.
The banner says, “backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action” by the FBI, US Postal Inspection Service and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and advocacy groups have long called for an investigation into Backpage.com for allegedly facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department confirmed to CNN that the website has been seized and that additional information would be made available Friday evening. However, a judge decided that the federal case should remain sealed on Friday night. No other additional information was provided.
Michael Lacey, a co-founder, and Jim Larkin, a former Backpage executive, had their homes raided by the feds ahead of the website shut down. Lacey’s charges were named in a sealed case that has not yet been released to the public.
In March, similar site Craigslist shut down its personals ads section on the heels of accusations of prostitution and sex trafficking starting to swirl.