By Rob Portman and Richard Blumenthal


Portman and Blumenthal are, respectively, Senators for Ohio and Connecticut in the U.S. Congress.


Online classifieds are a familiar part of the 21st-century marketplace. People buy and sell cars and couches on public websites every day. They find roommates there, too. But some of the same websites are used to buy and sell women and children for sex. As the Internet has grown, sex trafficking has increased substantially.


From 2010 to 2015, reports of suspected child sex trafficking to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children increased by more than 800%, a spike they found to be “directly correlated to the increased use of the internet to sell children for sex.”


 As this reprehensible illegal market has grown, one website has emerged as the industry leader: One2012 analysis by the Advanced Interactive Media Group found that more than 80% of all revenue from online commercial sex advertising in the U.S. was generated by Backpage.

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