account setup for ad posters, would help hinder illegal activity and trafficking.184 Such options
are currently used in online banking and brokerage, and in account setups for many websites. For
example, a person posting an ad could be required to provide his or her name, date of birth, social
security number, and physical address (similar to the Customer Identification Program rule
applicable to banks and other financial institutions),185 which could then be easily and quickly
verified through a credit check. Another option would be to require a poster to provide a
domestic checking account and routing number, linking that poster to a specific bank.
A. Proposal 1: Federal Law Regulation of ISPs to Protect Children: Internet Protection Against
Child Trafficking Act (“IPACT”)
1. Civil Regulatory Enforcement
In light of the evidence above, it is clear that children are being trafficked for sex on ISP
adult services sections. Thus, it is critical that legislative action be taken to require all hosts of
adult services sections to take preventive action against the posting of abusive ads. Such a bill
could be drafted as an amendment to the CDA itself, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection
Act (COPPA),186 the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA),187 or as a state law amendment
that could be called the Internet Protection Against Child Trafficking Act (IPACT).
Currently, any person seeking to post an ad or access the adult services section of
Backpage merely clicks a box purporting that he or she is eighteen years of age or older.188
Instead, the ISP should be required to utilize a gateway database program to verify the identity
and age of the person seeking to post the ad, any individuals depicted pictorially or in writing on
the ad itself, and any users who wish to access the ads in the adult services section.189 Enacting a
statute that does not limit the language or speech of the ad itself, but instead imposes regulatory
requirements of ISPs that will protect children, accomplishes the compelling state interest of
protecting children without running afoul of the Constitution.
E-Verify, a program operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security to
enable employers to confirm employment eligibility, is an example of a regulatory system that
provides a gateway database mechanism that could be used to prevent human trafficking.190 It is
currently utilized by hundreds of thousands of employers across the United States to verify the
185 See Patriot Act, Pub. L. No. 107-56, § 326, 115 Stat. 272 (2001) (Verification of Identification) (explaining certain financial
institutions are required to implement procedures to verify the identity of potential account holders "to the extent reasonable and
practicable" and to maintain records of information used to verify the identity, such as "name, address, and other identifying
186 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 6501-6506 (West 2013).
187 22 U.S.C.A. §§ 7101-7113 (West 2013).
188 See Disclaimer, BACKPAGE, http://indianapolis.backpage.com/adult/classifieds/Disclaimer?section=446263 (last visited Oct. 10,
189 NCMEC made a similar recommendation of practices for ISPs such as Backpage to reduce sexual exploitation of children on their
site. One example of the proposed practice included:
Verifying and knowing your customer. Verifying the identity and age of the person submitting the ad as well as
the person depicted in any images in the ad. There are ways to verify this information either in person or online
when the ad is purchased. Other classified ad sites have implemented verification processes including database
checks and review of government issued identification.
Letter from John D. Ryan, supra note 41.
190 What Is E-Verify?, DEPARTMENT HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGR. SERVICES.,
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/ (follow “E-Verify” hyperlink; then follow “What is E-Verify?” hyperlink) (last updated Nov. 1,
2012); Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996) (“Limited
use of system. Any personal information utilized by the system may not be made available to Government agencies, employers, and
other persons except to the extent necessary to verify that an individual is not an unauthorized alien.”) (emphasis added).