Attorney General Maura Healey called on Backpage.com to shut down its “adult” section after two men allegedly killed an escort in Burlington whom they had met through the website.
Healey said in a statement Tuesday that most of the human-trafficking cases her office has prosecuted involve advertisements on Backpage.com. Eliminating the section is a “long overdue step,” she said.
The Globe reported on Monday that shortly after midnight Thursday morning, two men arrived at the Extended Stay America hotel just off Route 128 near the Burlington Mall, and within a matter of minutes, authorities said, they had robbed and shot a 34-year-old Sanisha Johnson at close range in the chest, leaving her dead in her hotel room.
Just 20 minutes earlier, they had allegedly robbed an escort in Woburn, authorities said.
Epshod Jeune, 24, of Burlington, and Derrell Fisher, 21, of Roxbury, were arraigned on murder charges Monday. The men carried out a “joint venture to rob escorts at gunpoint,’’ Middlesex prosecutor Adrienne Lynch said in court, where Jeune and Fisher were ordered held without bail.
Both men pleaded not guilty.
“As we have seen through our office’s work, Backpage.com and the Internet have become increasingly popular vehicles for commercial sexual exploitation,” Healey said in her statement released Tuesday.
“It is clear that Backpage must do more to end the kind of exploitation that is advertised every day on its site.”
Katherine Landergan can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @klandergan.