2013 – KOSTER WORKED TO AMEND LANGUAGE TO ALLOW STATE AGENCIES TO PROSECUTE COMPANIES THAT FACILITATED SEX CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN COMMITTED OVER THE INTERNET.

2013 – Koster Worked To Amend Language To Allow State Agencies To Prosecute Companies That Facilitated Sex Crimes Against Children Committed Over The Internet. “Jackley, with Chris Koster, Missouri attorney general, is asking Congress to amend the language in the act to allow state agencies to prosecute companies that facilitate sex crimes against children committed over the Internet.

“As online advertising of child prostitution goes unchecked, sex traffickers are able to expand their businesses, magnifying the scope of the problem,” Jackley and Koster wrote.

They gave examples of offenders who were caught trafficking children over the Internet in 2013:

* A 13-year-old girl in Florida advertised on backpage.com for sex services whose eyelids were tattooed with the man’s name who “owned” her;

* Two men were arrested in Fairfax County, Va., for prostituting four minors on backpage.com;

* In St. Paul, Minn., four men and one woman were arrested for operating a prostitution ring of eight girls and women ranging from 15 to 40.” [Daily Republic, 12/21/13]

Koster Letter: “Federal Enforcement Alone Has Proven Insufficient To Stem The Growth Of Internet-Facilitated Child Sex Trafficking. Those On The Front Lines Of The Battle Against The Sexual Exploitation Of Children — State And Local Law Enforcement — Must Be Granted The Authority To Investigate And Prosecute Those Who Facilitate These Horrible Crimes.” [Daily Republic, 12/21/13]

Koster: When “Corporations Are Knowingly Generating Revenue From What Is Widely Or Universally Viewed As Criminal Conduct, The (Federal Law) Should Not Stand As A Shield For Corporate Revenues.” [The Examiner, 9/28/13]

Koster Was The “Lead Signatory” Of Letter Condemning Internet Companies Like Backpage.com For Profiting Off Sex Crimes. “Frustrated by such failures, 47 state attorneys general signed a letter this summer to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate commerce committees urging them to make a two-word tweak to the federal law to allow the prosecutions. Congress has yet to act. When ‘corporations are knowingly generating revenue from what is widely or universally viewed as criminal conduct, the (federal law) should not stand as a shield for corporate revenues,’ said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat who was the lead signatory of the letter.” [AP, 9/28/13]

State News Service Headline: “Missouri Ag Leads Effort To Battle Online Sex Trade.” [Missouri Family Couincil, 8/7/13]

State News Service: “Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is leading an effort to enact new laws on the federal level to combat child sex trafficking and prostitution.  Koster has enlisted the support of his fellow Attorneys General to call on Congress to make changes to the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA).” “Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is leading an effort to enact new laws on the federal level to combat child sex trafficking and prostitution.  Koster has enlisted the support of his fellow Attorneys General to call on Congress to make changes to the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA). Koster is taking aim at internet websites that are used to promote promiscuous sexual behavior that are a haven for the sex trafficking industry. Local prosecutors report that prostitution solicitations have largely moved online, Koster states. To keep up with changing technology, federal law needs to be modernized to provide local prosecutors the tools to strike back against those who promote sexual exploitation. The Communications Decency Act was enacted by Congress in 1996 to help restrict minors from accessing pornographic materials online. Koster says the purpose of the act has been stymied by federal court decisions.” [Missouri Family Couincil, 8/7/13]

Post & Courier Headline: “Prosecutors Target Human Trafficking.” [Post & Courier, 8/6/13]

“Chris Koster Penned The Lead Signature” Of Letter From 49 Attorneys General Asking Congress For More Power To “Go After Sited That Advertise Sex With Minors.” “Online sites that peddle sex with children have been pretty much immune from prosecution until now, but that may be changing. Several efforts are under way to crack down on the sites, including new laws and initiatives across the South. Attorneys general from at least 49 states are asking Congress for more power to go after sites that advertise sex with minors. They signed a letter dated July 23 asking Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996. As technology constantly evolves, criminals find new ways to exploit children, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement released with the letter.  This amendment is necessary to provide a much-needed update to our law so it can stay current with the times.  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster penned the lead signature.” [Post & Courier, 8/6/13]

2012 – KOSTER AND OTHER ATTORNEYS GENERAL DEMANDED BACKPAGE TAKE DOWN THEIR ADULT SERVICES PAGES THAT FREQUENTED PROSTITUTION AND SEX WITH MINORS

Koster: “In 1996, Federal Lawmakers Passed The CDA In Order To Make The Internet A Forum For Ideas, While Also Protecting Kids From Crimes Such As Child Pornography. But They Never Intended To Enable Websites To Generate Millions In Profits By Promoting Prostitution, Particularly When We Know That A Portion Of That Profit Comes From Advertising Kids For Sex.” [Washington AGO Office, 12/7/12]

AGO Press Release Headline: “Missouri: State Attorneys General Reject Backpage Demand.” [AGO Press Release, 5/24/12]

49 State Attorneys General Rejected Demand By Backpage.com That They Stop Asking For Site’s Adult Services Sections To Be Taken Down. “The state attorneys general investigating Backpage.com’s adult services advertisements have rejected a demand by Backpage.com that the attorneys general stop asking for the site’s adult services sections to be taken down.  In a recent letter, Backpage.com’s general counsel, Liz McDougall indicated that the company would not agree to further conversations with attorneys general unless officials agreed in advance that they would not call for the elimination of adult ads on the site. The attorneys general decided to make the company’s demand public after McDougall claimed in the Seattle Times and in several interviews that Backpage is an ally in the fight against human trafficking. ‘It’s hypocritical for Backpage representatives to tell the publicthey cooperate with law enforcement when they’ve been so unresponsive to the chief law enforcement officers of 48 states and three territories,’ said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who chairs the working group of 48 states with Missouri Attorney General ChrisKoster and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen. ‘Now they demand that we take the most effective solution — the removal of adult services — off the table before they’re even willing to cooperate.’” [AGO Press Release, US Official News, 5/24/12]

Koster: “One Reason Police Are Critical Of Backpage.Com Is Because Too Often The Victims Of Prostitution Are Children. The Attorneys General Are Committed To Findingany Solution To Prevent The Adult Services Section Of Backpage From Being Used For Human Trafficking. It Is Disappointing That Backpage Will Not Make The Same Commitment, And Instead Demands That We Take Possible Solutions Off The Table.” [AGO Press Release, US Official News, 5/24/12]

2011 – KOSTER CALLED ON BACKPAGE TO “PROVE YOU ARE FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING.”

Koster And 44 Other Attorneys General Called On Backpage.Com To Crack Down On Prostitution, Human Trafficking And Those Involving Minors. “Attorneys General nationally have identified more than 50 recent cases involving adults accused of advertising or soliciting minors on backpage.com. Attorney General Chris Koster and 44 other state Attorneys General today called for information about backpage.com’s claimed attempts to remove advertising for sex trafficking, specifically ads that could involve minors.” [AGO Press Release, 9/1/11]

AGO Press Release: “Attorney General Koster Calls On Backpage.Com To “Prove You Are Fighting Human Trafficking.” [AGO Press Release, 8/31/11]

2010 – KOSTER URGED BACKPAGE TO REMOVE CLASSIFIED ADS FOR ADULT SERVICES

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Headline: Attorneys General Target Site’s Adult Ads Koster, Madigan Among Those Putting Pressure On Backpage.Com To Join Craigslist In Dropping Ads.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/22/10]

AGO Press Release: “AG Koster Calls on Backpage to Shut Down Its Adult Services Section.” [AGO Press Release, 9/21/10]

Koster: “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. We Cannot Allow Such Websites To Be Portals For Prostitution In Our Communities.” [AGO Press Release, 9/21/10]