The State Works to End Online Prostitution

Signs like this one are an open invitation for young women to become prostitutes but because the internet is involved there’s little the state can do to stop it.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and other attorneys general want a federal law changed to give them more authority to step in.

“They could stop human sex-trafficking with those people who are on the internet,” said Jenn Meale.

The group is calling on Congress to add the phrase “or state” to the Communications Decency Act of 1996. It would give states jurisdiction for ending online prostitution.

“Currently under the Communications Decency Act, state and local law prosecutors don’t have authority, don’t have jurisdiction to act,” said Meale.

The states biggest online complaints have been Backpage and Craigslist. The sign near Florida State is raising concerns, too.

People who have seen the sign, which promotes students to get sugar daddies say it’s just another form of online prostitution.

“It’s one of the first things we saw when we turned off campus the other day, it doesn’t convey a good image,” said John Schwenkler.

The attorneys general office didn’t have a comment on the billboard; the company says it isn’t promoting online prostitution. In an email response, a representative says the sign is a platform allowing men and women to engage in mutually beneficial arrangements. People at F-S-U say it wrongfully exploits college students.

“It’s preying into worries and fears they have about money and yeah, it’s predatory,” said Angela Schwenkler.

Its estimated Backpage makes 5 million dollars a month from sex ads. The billboard has been up near F-S-U since mid-July.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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