December 29th, 2011
08:07 PM ET

AC360 Poll: Online escort ads

Police are investigating murders possibly connected to online escort ads. Anderson Cooper spoke with Ed McNally, the law enforcement adviser for Backpage.com. Tune in to AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Terri Miller

    Since when is selling humans protected by law? Free speech does not give a person the right to advertise sex slavery. Sex trafficking is proliferated by online adult services advertising.

    December 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  2. Ben

    While child prostitution and human trafficking is abhorrent, the right for adults to sell their bodies for sex to other consenting adults should not be mixed up with the horrible crimes of child prostitution and human trafficking. The State of WA is trying to blur the lines by lumping all of these issues together in one big dragnet and is blaming Backpage for the symptom. Prostitution has been and will continue to be part of the human experience regardless of how much these Puritans cry fowl.

    December 30, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  3. BAS

    Coming from an escort – I am college educated. I've owned an advertising company and worked in corporate life 12 years before CHOOSING to be an escort. I believe the percentages being presented on this show are horribly wrong. I would say 10% is nowhere NEAR the amount of women who CHOOSE this as a profession. The world is changing. Look at how many tens of thousands of women CHOOSE to be webcam girls. People's religious morals should NOT be made law. I'm all for protecting children and providing education and options for women who DON'T choose this lifestyle, but leave grown women and the men who want a little attention alone. Backpage watches VERY closely for anyone who looks underage or any keywords that promote child prostitution. I know MANY men who visit the site looking for ADULTS and see anyone even questionable click the link to bring attention to backpage about a certain post. Keeping backpage available keeps people in check – the community wants to keep children safe. Backpage DOES help save children BY allowing people to post their ads and checking EVERY one of them for anything that looks out of order.

    December 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  4. Rob

    Don't close down backpage. It's a game of whack-a-mole; the ads will reappear elsewhere. Rather, AGs should use the info on backpage to go after illegal activity, subpoenaing backpage for information when there is evidence of crime.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  5. Chris Cuellar

    Mr. Cooper:

    You make claims such as, "Backpage profits off illegal activity." Not so. The fact is, only a small fraction of the money they make comes from illegal activity.

    The issue you seem to miss is this: it's not -Backpage's- freedom of speech that would be violated... it's the people's using it. The argument is "bad people use such-and-such medium to do bad things, so we need to get rid of that medium". The problem with that argument is that many more people use that same medium for things that aren't bad.

    Maybe adults just want to get together to do adult things in a way that isn't illegal. That should be fine. But as for the other bad stuff, the president has calmly tried to explain to you, they take the best measures they possibly can to eliminate the illegal activity and work closely with law enforcement. There's nothing more they can possibly do, short of shutting down the site. There will always be bad people out in the world, and if you take away one medium, they will resort to using another medium.

    You want to throw out the baby with the bath water here. There is a reason such things are protected by law. If we simply gave the excuse that some form of communication must be shut down because people could do bad things with them, then before you know it, we'd have e-mail, telephone, written letters, or even physically meeting at a location banned.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  6. Frank Thompson

    I saw the interview with the Publisher of Backpage. The question I have for Anderson, and all the rest of you, is who do you think you are helping with this line of questioning? You are searching for a scapegoat, but unwilling to look at the people who are really responsible for what is happening, and that is you. Even if you shut down Backpage, all you do is drive the women back to the street where their lives are in even more danger, and then all you do is blame the pimp. The real cuprits are the johns. I saw a show on prostituion on CNN recently. It ended talking about not being able to raise the funds for a safehouse for girls. And this lack of caring is caused by Backpage and pimps? Your arrogance is sickening. I grew up in an environment with prostitution. You allow the men to get away with fines, the women are victimized by the court system and sent to prison, and when one is found lifeless on the streets, no one cares. Critizing pimps and Backpage changes nothing. Not until the prostituion becomes legal and we can put in place real protection for these women.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm |