A U.S. senate committee has voted unanimously to take legal action against Backpage.com to enforce a subpoena issued to it during an investigation of online sex trafficking. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced today a resolution to hold the company in contempt. A senate panel that McCaskill sits on wants documents from Backpage about its business practices, including its screening of online ads for suspected trafficking.
“I really appreciate Senator Portman’s calm resolve on this—because it’s an antidote to how damn mad I am,” said McCaskill. “And everyone should be mad. This is the height of arrogance… this is thumbing one’s nose at the laws in this country.”
“We’re not on a fishing expedition here. We’re not violating anybody’s rights here. We are using the law as the law is intended to be used. Today on Backpage, children are being trafficked for sex. I am disgusted that any company wouldn’t participate and cooperate with an investigation into the trafficking of children.”
Carl Ferrer, Chief Executive Officer of Backpage.com, failed to obey a subpoena compelling his attendance at a senate committee hearing in November.
“I’m disgusted that any company would not participate and cooperate in an investigation into the trafficking of children,” said McCaskill.
If adopted by the full Senate, this would be the first time in more than 20 years that the Senate has held anyone in contempt.