On Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox urged members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to support legislation that would help prevent children from being trafficked on the Internet. 

According to a news release from the Attorney General's office;

"Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating about $150 billion each year. Shockingly, there are numerous cases nationally of children being used in prostitution as young as 12. The FBI estimates that nearly 300,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Montana and 52 other states and territories have asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE) Act (S. 2536), which would provide more oversight of websites that facilitate “adult services,” such as Backpage.com."

Spokesman John Barnes said the SAVE act could help curtail the use of these websites that are a virtual marketplace for child sex.

"The use of the “adult services sections” on websites such as Backpage.com has created virtual brothels where children are bought and sold using euphemistic labels such as “escorts," Barnes said. "The SAVE Act would require these websites that are facilitating trafficking through their very business model to take steps to verify the identity of individuals posting advertisements and the age of those who appear in these advertisements."

"This spring, seven people were arrested in Missoula on felony child sex abuse charges," he said.  "Their arrests were the result of a two-day sting, in which members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and several law enforcement agencies posted ads on Craigslist and BackPage.com, posing as an adult female willing to prostitute a 12-year-old female relative."

The news release went on to state;

"Preventing kids from being trafficked on the Internet has been a long-term interest of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). NAAG has taken several actions regarding Backpage.com and similar websites, including requesting that these exploitive websites shut down their “adult services” sections which fuel the online trafficking of youth."  

 Attorney General Spokesman John Barnes