MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis city leaders have joined a nationwide effort to stop the trafficking of children through a website called backpage.com.
On Thursday, Minneapolis City Council members unanimously approved a resolution that calls for shutting down adult ads on the website.
According to Minneapolis police, investigators have received 60 tips of possible juvenile sex trafficking so far this year, including 20 that led to investigations. All of the 20 cases were tied to backpage.com, officials said.
"It sort of replaced Craigslist and operates the same way," said Capt. Amelia Huffman of the Minneapolis Police Department. "Your customer base knows where to come, all the ads are there. It's a smorgasbord, and it's just very customer friendly."
Meantime, advocates at the Women's Foundation for Minnesota applauded the council's move, saying it only strengthens a nationwide effort that started when backpage.com picked up the business left behind when Craigslist suspended its adult ads in 2010.
"The buying and selling of children is not only illegal, it's atrocious. It's unconscionable, and backpage.com and its owner, Village Media Holdings, need to do the right thing," said Mary Beth Hanson, Communications Director with Women's Foundation of Minnesota.
For more information on the issue and local efforts to fight child sex trafficking, go to www.MNGirlsNotForSale.org.
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