Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘village voice’


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


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

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

Mayors urge online escort service to check ages

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Mayors of nearly 50 cities across the country are urging Village Voice Media to require identification for people posting escort ads on — its online ad service that has come under scrutiny from authorities for allegations that it’s used to promote child prostitution.

“There is an urgent need to act quickly, as cities continue to find advertisements on your site that reflect underage sex trafficking,” the letter by the United States Conference of Mayors said Monday. “We are making every effort to stop the ongoing trafficking of underage individuals, but these efforts are made more difficult by the inadequate safeguards of your website,, to prevent underage sex trafficking.”

The leaders criticizing the ads include the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and Laredo, Texas.

Source: Fox News

Starbucks, Best Buy Pull Village Voice Ads, Sign Petition Amid Sex Trafficking Scandal

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on May 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

The 27 companies that recently pulled their ads from the Village Voice are the newest advocates to join the fight in protecting girls from being trafficked through the publication.

Big-name companies, including the likes of Starbucks, Best Buy and AT&T, were inspired to walk away from Village Voice Media after an online petition urged them to stop supporting a company whose adult ad section,, is believed to help pimps peddle girls and women.

According to a statement released by the office of New York Council Member Brad Lander, trafficking charges were brought against people using in 50 instances in the last three years, in 22 states.

 Source: Huffington Post

CHANGE.ORG PETITION: Tell Village Voice Media to Stop Child Sex Trafficking on

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

PETITION DELIVERY: On Thursday March 29th @ 11am at Village Voice HQ in NYC, three NYC City Council Members, 20 Faith Leaders, and 75 Community Members delivered nearly a quarter of a million petitions to the Village Voice calling on them to shut down the adult section of  

Click here to see video, pictures, and more from the rally.

Sex trafficking of girls and boys on, owned by Village Voice Media, is becoming a disturbing trend.

A Georgia man was arrested for pimping two 17-year-old girls around the Nashville area. Detectives responded to a suspicious ad on and drove to a motel. There, they found the teens and their 37-year-old pimp, as well as a laptop computer, likely used for the online advertising. Just four days prior to that, four people in Denver were arrested for forcing a teen girl into prostitution. They also advertised her sexual services, including semi-nude pictures, on Backpage. And last year, a South Dakota couple was arrested for selling underage girls for sex on …. wait for it … yet again.

Village Voice Media has a moral responsibility to ensure that young girls and boys aren’t being abused in the commercial sex industry with help from their website.

Now, a rising movement of people of many faiths and backgrounds, motivated by their shared moral convictions, are taking action to end this practice.

Please join us in demanding that Village Voice Media –’s parent company – stop selling ads that others use to sell minors on by shutting down the Adult section of the website.


Girls of Color, Backpage, and the Online Girl Trade

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I grew up loving the Village Voice. Nat Hentoff taught me how to listen to Billie Holiday. Jack Newfield politically baptized me through his stories and recollections of Bobby Kennedy. During the 80’s and 90’s, the Village Voice was also one of those rare mainstream publications in which the Black and Brown mind, body, and spirit were routinely celebrated. I read the Village Voice to understand myself better as a woman of color in America.

And that is why I am heart-broken to witness how it now survives off the exploitation and enslavement of girls. Girls, who are disproportionately Black or Brown, and poor–the very girls that the Village Voice once prided itself on writing about and giving voice to. How is it that the iconic paper of vanguard liberal thinking has descended into a publication supported through a cyber slave market?

The Village Voice is now largely funded through, an online classified ads site, in which you can purchase furniture, cars, or underage girls for sex. Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media which also owns the Village Voice weekly. Like Craigslist used to, the Village Voice‘s Backpage is reaping huge profits off the sale and sexual exploitation of children — $22 million to be exact.

Unlike Craigslist, whose founder Craig Newmark finally recognized the moral abhorrence of his site being used to sell children for sex, Backpage has expressed nothing but shamelessness. Perhaps that is because Craigslist didn’t need the revenue from its sex ad sales to survive. The Village Voice does.

Source: Huffington Post

Mayor to Seattle Weekly Owner: Policies to End Child Sex Trafficking Aren’t Working

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Mayor Mike McGinn has written a letter to Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin expressing concerns about, the VVM-owned classified site that has been implicated in a long string of underage prostitution charges.

In the letter, McGinn noted that the policies VVM claimed they had in place to prevent pimps from trafficking underage prostitutes do not appear to be working; last month, for example, Seattle police rescued a 17-year-old girl who was posting Backpage ads for herself on a public library computer on behalf of her pimp, who remains at large.

Locally, VVM owns Seattle Weekly, which has staunchly defended its Backpage escort ads.

 Source: Publicola
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