Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘backpage’

15-year-old girl beaten and urinated on by Backpage pimp

In Child Sex Trafficking, Child Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on July 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

In Minnesota 38-year-old Arteco Marvell Rhodes has been charged with the sex trafficking of a minor but that may be the least of his offenses. Investigators say that Rhodes prostituted a 15-year-old girl from Chicago on Backpage in the St. Paul area. When he picked her up from Chicago he asked her if she wanted to be part of the family to do tricks. For the uninitiated that means he wanted her to work for him as a prostitute. Rhodes is said to have had sex with her twice (child rape) and took photos of them in the act. He then turned her out on Backpage for $85 and kept all the money.

The worst part came when the girl said she didn’t want to work for Rhodes anymore. He then allegedly beat her for 3 hours including hitting her with a baseball bat and then choking her unconscious. While she was out cold Rhodes was said to have stomped on her and urinated on her. Then after he was finished beating her he told her to “Go be a kid’ and ‘Don’t say anything’ before dropping her off in the city.

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In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm

We don’t know if the trafficking charges against Somad are true, but if they are, then the safeguards we had established were not good enough. Because it is most certainly our place, and our duty, to refuse to be a party to what is altogether different from erotica or even consensual sex work. The Village Voice‘s editorial staff will take every step we can to ensure that no one uses our pages to profit from the physical or economic coercion, sexual or otherwise, of any human being. Similarly, and at no small cost to the bottom line of our young enterprise, our publishers are implementing stricter standards across the entire Voice Media Group chain, to make sure that our advertising is as ethical as possible.

Specifically, in our “adult” ad pages:

All direct advertisers must provide a government-issued ID proving that they are over the age of 18.

All agency advertisers must contract that every client in their ads is over the age of 18 and that all photos are of actual clients.

All advertisers must submit to us that they do not conduct illegal activity.

Any customer known to operate or engage in illegal activities will be blacklisted for life from doing business with us.

Headshots only in the adult ads

No suggestive language in the adult ads

Source: Village Voice

City Pages Faces Boycott For Sex Trafficking Allegations

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on September 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

A national movement is calling for advertisers to boycott City Pages in response to adult classifieds.

The controversy is over the website, which, along with City Pages, is owned by Village Voice Media.

Some say the adult classifieds on the site promote sex trafficking and underage prostitution. But City Pages says it’s not the problem.

For 26 years, Adele’s Frozen Custard in Excelsior has been a community favorite. Recently, owner Jai Buikema advertised in City Pages to pull in some back to school business.

“It’s a community-based magazine that people pick up everywhere. And so I think we felt that it would reach out to most people,” Buikema said.

The advertisement did help, but after learning about the controversy over adult ads on City Pages sister website, managers say they might advertise somewhere else.

Source: CBS Minnesota 

Mpls. tells ‘Backpage’ owner to stop sex ads

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on August 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Minneapolis leaders, stirred by recent arrests and disturbing stories of teenage girls swept from city streets and sold for sex on a popular website, on Thursday called upon the owner of to stop running exploitative ads that enable juvenile prostitution.

City Council members unanimously approved a resolution demanding that New York-based Village Voice Media end its “adult services” section of Minneapolis police report that all 20 child sex-trafficking cases they have investigated so far this year involve juvenile victims being prostituted on this website.

Advocates say the sex trafficking of young girls in the Twin Cities is on the rise. Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, an organization that helps victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation, said more than 70 girls under 18 came to seek help in the past year, up from about 50 or so in the past year and around 25 in years past. She said that about 40 percent of them said they had been advertised on

Source: Star Tribune

Three Teens Sue Over Sex Trafficking

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on August 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Three Washington teenagers have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the classified ad website, alleging that the site allowed them to be forced into prostitution for the company’s own financial gain.

The three unnamed girls, now aged 15 through 17, filed the suit in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Washington. In the suit they allege that through the adult listings in the company allowed them to be raped — and that it profited as a result, making millions of dollars each month.

“Our kids were hurt by Backpage, so we’re going after Backpage,” Erik L. Bauer, an attorney representing the three girls, told ABC News.

Images of the underage girls were posted to, which is owned by Village Voice Media, beginning in 2010. The site is a frequent online destination for escort services. The ads were posted by three men who pimped the girls out and kept all of the profits for themselves, the lawsuit claims.

Source: ABC News

Evanston store uses models to address human trafficking

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Organ Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on July 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Audrey Cheng/The Daily Northwestern
Silence Models sit in the storefront of Williams Next Door. They sit silently with price tags, representing the victms of human trafficking

Three battered-looking women sporting price tags sat in the window of Williams Next Door, 710 Church St., on Sunday in a campaign to end sex trafficking.

Volunteers from the campaign “Women To Go” asked passerbys to sign a petition directed at Village Voice Media’s The petition, which is also online, asks Village Voice Media to suspend the “adult” section, one of the largest spots in the United States for the sex trafficking of females.

Project Coordinator Phyllis Nutkis said the addressed site is similar to Craigslist.

“It’s a classified advertising site, and it has an adult section,” Nutkissaid. “But there’s a tremendous number of ads that look like they’re for individual women offering their services, but really most of those are placed by pimps.”

Source: Daily Northwestern

Fair Girls: Sign the petition to stop sex trafficking

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on July 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm


Sign the Petition

Source: Fair Girls

Former congresswoman joins sex ads protest

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on June 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

Backpage is at the center of a Washington lawsuit over the ads. It has argued that online service providers are not culpable for advertising placed by third parties, according to ABC 15.

“They have children for sale; they know it,” Smith was quoted as saying on “They’re trying to keep it as clean as they can, but the 23 million is more important than our children. We’re simply saying: ‘Start a legitimate business; this is America.'” Phoenix New Times is part of Village Voice Media.

Smith is founder of Shared Hope International, which seeks to stop child sex trafficking, and a member of War Against Trafficking Alliance. She was a Republican congresswoman from 1995 to 1999 and grew up in Vancouver.

 Source: Columbian Obtains Order Blocking Sex Trafficking Law

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on June 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Siding with, a federal judge in Washington has blocked a new criminal law aimed at curbing sex trafficking of minors.

The law, which had been slated to take effect on Thursday, makes it a felony for Web site operators to allow users to post ads for “commercial sexual acts,” when those ads contain images of minors. The Village Voice Media’s filed papers earlier this week asking the federal court to declare the law invalid.

“Although its ostensible motivation — to prevent the sex trafficking of children — is laudable, the law is not,” the company argued in its application for a temporary restraining order.

Backpage argued that the law, SB 6251, potentially affects every site that accepts user-generated content by imposing new policing duties on Web sites. The Washington statute says Web site operators are liable if they allow users to post explicit or “implicit” prostitution ads, unless the site operators obtain drivers’ licenses or other identification of individuals depicted. “These obligations would bring the practice of hosting third-party content to a grinding halt,” Backpage argues.

Source: Media Post

A lurid journey through

In Child Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Go to, choose any city in any state, then click on the adult section of the nationwide classified ads website.

Young women wearing almost nothing pose provocatively. One of the first advertisements I open shows a girl in lacy black underwear. Her eyes are downcast, and she appears much younger than 19, the age stated in her ad.

No one checks whether it’s true – not the ages or the identities of these young women. Someone else is clearly taking the picture. The pose appears unnatural, forced.

The text next to her photo reads, “Choke me. Spank me. Pull my hair. Do Whatever You Want…I don’t Care – 19.” The young woman promises “a time you will NEVER forget.”

It’s hard to know whether this alleged 19-year-old is doing this because she wants to or because she’s being coerced. That’s another thing the website doesn’t check.

Although many ads are placed by consenting adults, others are not and stories are rampant of young girls seduced online by men who turn out to be pimps or sex-traffickers.

Source: News Net 5

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