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Attorney General's News Release

September 21, 2010

AG Koster calls on backpage to shut down its adult services section

Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster today called on to close the adult services section of its classified advertising website. The letter to backpage, signed by 21 attorneys general, follows the successful effort to force craigslist to close down its adult services section.

"While this office remains a defender of free speech, organizations like craigslist and backpage have crossed the line in allowing advertisements that promote illegal activity, specifically prostitution," Koster said. "We cannot allow such websites to be portals for prostitution in our communities."

Koster was one of three attorneys general who led the charge in May 2009 for craigslist to remove advertisements for illegal activities and better police its site, alongside Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Attorney General Lisa Madigan of Illinois. Craigslist announced September 15, 2010, that the company had permanently removed the adult services section from its website.

Koster noted that backpage has been cooperating with the attorneys general, but this morning called on the company to permanently remove its adult services section. Koster is also requesting better policing of the entire personal services section of backpage's website.

In the letter to backpage, Koster said, "Because backpage cannot, or will not, adequately screen these ads, it should stop accepting them altogether."

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