Detroit Police Warn Citizens About Classifieds Website Backpage.com After Four Deaths

Posted Dec 29, 2011

BackPage.com is a free classifieds website that is owned by Village Voice Media (VVM). VVM operates 13 weekly newspapers across the U.S. This past Sunday, four women in Detroit were found dead in two car trunks. Three of these women were escorts connected to BackPage.com. VVM is currently cooperating with the Detroit police as part of the investigation.

This isn’t the first time Backpage.com has been scrutinized by police. The website was connected to the sex trafficking of minors in the past. This past August, fourty-six state attorney generals in the U.S. had sent VVM a letter requesting that adult-service ads are removed from the website.

However Backpage.com is protected under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects online companies from wrongdoing if ads on a website promotes prostitution or other illegal acts. Backpage.com accounts for about 30-35% of VVM’s annual revenue.

[Christian Science Monitor]