Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today voted in favor of enforcing a subpoena issued to Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer, regarding a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations bipartisan investigation into sex trafficking over the Internet. Feinstein issued the following statement:
“The Senate today took an important step in an investigation of sex trafficking on the Internet and the role websites like Backpage play in facilitating the purchase of underage victims for sex. The trafficking of these victims, some as young as 12 or 13 years old, is a stain on our society.
“Backpage has so far refused to provide subpoenaed documents or make its CEO available to testify. I’m pleased the Senate has approved an enforcement action to compel Backpage to comply with the subpoena. Noncompliance may subject Backpage to civil contempt.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that reports of child sex trafficking increased eightfold in the past five years. The Internet is one of the main reasons, connecting buyers to victims in seconds.
“Local law enforcement in California has informed me that traffickers sometimes strip girls naked at night and handcuff them to furniture so they can’t escape. Just last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office rescued a 20-year old victim who was kidnapped, held at gunpoint and advertised on Backpage. We have a moral obligation to do more to stop the exploitation of these young victims.”