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July 24, 2013 10:00 PM

Attorneys General Go After Backpage.com

Sioux Falls, SD

Everyday children in the United States are sold for sex. Often times it's over the internet on sites like backpage.com.

That's why 49 Attorneys General, including South Dakota's, are calling on Congress to amend a federal law and help fight prostitution and child sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is way more prevalent than a lot of people would like to believe.  

"In South Dakota, we are seeing prostitution almost double over the last year, our sex crimes are up in South Dakota, we are seeing it out at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, law enforcement has been proactive where we have run a couple of stings in the state and it all goes back to backpage.com," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

That's why 49 Attorneys General have signed off on this letter asking Congress to amend the Communication Decency Act. The Communication Decency Act of 1996 was drafted when the internet was in its infancy. 

The law allows such sites to be prosecuted federally, but not at the state or local level.

"Often times sex offenses are primarily a state jurisdiction matter and that's why it's so important that Congress takes a look at perhaps changing the CDA, so there isn't this broad immunity for companies to hurt women and children," Jackley said.

Jackley and others prosecutors are growing frustrated with backpage.com, because it refuses to cooperate. 

"We Attorneys General sent a letter back in 2010 asking them to do a better job, they never really responded, they've been unwilling to come to the table to make any changes, part of our concern is they are making a considerable profit in the tune of three to four million dollars a month on these concerning forms of advertising," Jackley said.

The Attorneys General will also be working closely with their congressional delegations to draft an amendment to change the Communication Decency Act.

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