The US Senate has passed a resolution calling upon Village Voice Media to take down backpage.com, the New York City publisher’s so-called adult entertainment section.
As The Inquisitr has previously reported, critics maintain that the website’s classifieds are a tool for prostitution and child sex trafficking, and a number of prominent advertisers have walked away from the Village Voice as a result.
On his website, US Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) outlined the problem with the Village Voice adult classifieds that reportedly enable child sex trafficking:
“The site’s ‘adult entertainment’ section generates more than 80 percent of prostitution advertising revenue on the web. Village Voice Media, which makes an estimated $26 million per year from these ads, claims it polices the ads on its site, but the statistics say otherwise. According to the National Association of Attorneys General, 23 states have cumulatively filed more than 50 charges against suspects trafficking minors on Backpage.com.”
According to The Hill, Sen. Kirk has this to say after the resolution (S. Res. 439) was adopted on Thursday night:
“The numbers are rising, in part because it has become frighteningly simple to order a child prostitute on the Internet. One merely needs to look at the classified ads on Backpage.com, the leading Web site for prostitution advertising in the United States according to the Advanced Interactive Media, AIM, Group. Just a few clicks on this site easily enables ‘johns’ to purchase children for sex. Law enforcement believes that the existence of Backpage encourages the recruitment of victims for sexual exploitation because it allows traffickers to operate out of sight from police patrols.”
Added: In response to this story, Lauren Ianuzi of Text100 — Voice Media Group’s PR firm — emailed The Inqusitr as follows:
“Village Voice (the paper) and Voice Media Group have no affiliation with Backpage. On September 24, 2012, Voice Media Group announced it had signed an agreement to purchase the publishing and related sales properties owned by Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC. The purchase includes the iconic Village Voice Media alternative weekly newspapers and their associated websites, as well as the national advertising arm of the company.”
Ianuzi added that backpage.com was not part of the buyout and backpage.com will go its own way as a separate company with separate ownership.
Watch a video about underage sexual exploitation and backpage.com:
[Top image credit: David Shankbone]