Village Voice Media has come under heavy fire recently for their adult ad section, backpage.com, which critics say is a tool for pimps to peddle women and even little girls. An online petition to stop advertisers from using the Village Voice is starting to bear fruit with Starbucks, AT&T and Best Buy walking away from the publication.
In the last three years more than 50 people have been charged with trafficking women in 22 states using backpage.com according to New York Council Member Brad Lander.
Justin Wassel, an Ohio minister who started the petition told Mashable,
“I’m thrilled to hear so many companies have dropped their advertisements from Village Voice Media publications. Many of them are major national brands who cater to families and children, so it’s only natural they should be concerned about their advertisements supporting child sex trafficking.”
The petition is the latest weapon that activists have been using against the Village Voice. In addition to the petition there have been campaigns by New York Politicians and Hollywood celebrities.
The son of Norman Mailer, Village Voice co-founder, joined hundreds of protesters in March to demonstrate his opposition to the adult ad section.
John Buffalo Mailer, one of the people who support the boycott of the Village Voice says,
“This was once a progressive paper, a people’s paper, and to see it lose its credibility is heartbreaking. He [Mailer] would not have approved of this at all.”
Yet for some strange reason the Village Voice is vociferously standing up for backpage.com. The Village Voice responded to a New York Times editorial featuring an account of a former sex slave by calling the article an “uninformed crusade”.
The Voice said,
“Backpage dedicates hundreds of staff to screen adult classifieds in order to keep juveniles off the site and to work proactively with law enforcement in their efforts to locate victims. When the authorities have concerns, we share paperwork and records and help them make cases.”