YouTube is hosting videos that show potential sex traffickers how to make payments to a classifieds website notorious for prostitution, The Sunday Times can reveal.

Backpage.com has been labelled a “hub of human trafficking, especially the trafficking of minors” by the US National Association of Attorneys General, yet the website has fended off a series of legal efforts to shut it down. It is implicated in three out of four reported child trafficking cases in America, according to research by campaign groups.

The site, owned by a Dutch company domiciled in Curacao, operates with impunity in nearly 1,000 cities in 97 countries — including Britain. Investigations into the site’s role in people trafficking have thus far focused on America.

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