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Noem joins Capitol Hill group pressuring attorney general to crack down on website

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Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Pa., led 44 members of Congress in asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to crack down on the online classified advertising site, Backpage.com.

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The group sent a letter asking Holder to use authority they believe he has under existing federal law to investigate and prosecute operators of the website.

"Backpage.com is deeply involved in the sex trafficking industry and advertises sex acts with children, minors and women," Noem told reporters Wednesday. "It's something that really needs to be shut down."

In the letter, the members of Congress say the website's owners make a handsome profit off of criminal activity.

"Every year, tens of thousands of children are victims of sex trafficking in the United States," read the letter. "Not coincidentally, Backpage.com makes millions of dollars in profit annually from the fees charged for online advertisements, including essentially unchecked advertising of children for sex services.... We cannot continue to allow websites like Backpage.com to profit from the unlawful exploitation of minors. We ask that you pursue and prosecute these grotesque actions and where laws are unclear or insufficient, provide recommendations to Congress."

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