Backpage escort website shut down after two states investigate
The online escort marketplace Backpage has shut down in Kansas after two state regulators launched an investigation into the company’s business practices.
A Kansas State Board of Equalization spokeswoman said on Thursday that the state’s Department of Labor and Industry has launched an inquiry into Backpage.
The agency’s probe into the website began in October and involves the state Department of Education and Kansas State Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
The agency has not yet publicly named any of the parties or the businesses that were investigated.
“This is a troubling development and an abuse of power,” said state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Democrat who is running for governor.
“This is just the latest in a series of examples of Backpage using its power to abuse its position as a ‘hotbed’ for prostitution and child sex trafficking.”
In October, Kansas Attorney General Tom Miller announced the closure of Backdoor Escorts, a site that was run by the owner of the escort site Backpage, James R. Moore.
Moore had been the owner and operator of Backpocalypse, which has since been shut down, the company said in a statement.
The Kansas Board of Ed has not taken any action to close Backpols escort websites, the statement said.
The Kansas Attorney Generals Office has a team of agents and investigators working with law enforcement agencies to investigate Backpage’s business practice and ensure compliance with state laws, the agency said.
“We will not tolerate the use of our state resources to further an agenda that undermines the rule of law and undermines the trust that our citizens have in the legal system,” Schmidt said.
“We will pursue all avenues of recourse to enforce our laws to the fullest extent possible.”
Moore has denied any wrongdoing and said he did not intend to defraud customers.
Moore is also a registered sex offender in California.
In January, Moore filed a lawsuit against Backpage in the San Diego Superior Court alleging the website illegally collected money from underage customers.
In a court filing, Moore said the business’s ads encouraged sex acts and solicited the use and exploitation of minors, which violated state law.