Global: Call to end facilitation of sex trafficking by Village Voice Media

Equality Now has just issued Women’s Action 40.1 (March 2012) – Global: Call to end facilitation of sex trafficking by Village Voice Media – calling on Village Voice Media, the owner of Backpage, to stop facilitating and profiting from sex trafficking by shutting down its “adult” advertisement section.

In 2009, pornographic nude photographs of a 14-year-old runaway girl, “M.A.”, began showing up on the website Backpage.com, a classifieds website selling everything from used sofas to opportunities for sexual exploitation. Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC (Village Voice), the owner of Backpage.com webpages around the world, willingly hosted the posting placed by M.A.’s pimp advertising her services as an “adult” escort for sex, providing an easy way for men to contact her pimp and make arrangements to rape M.A.

Regardless of attempts by Village Voice to screen out ads that promote sex trafficking, its ads continue to result in the rape of women and girls. Just last month, a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped and sold by traffickers on Backpage via “adult” ads that included nude photographs, proving the ineffectiveness of Village Voice’s efforts.

Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that violates the human rights of women and girls around the world. According to the United Nations, women and girls make up 98% of sex trafficking victims, and about 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade. The internet is now the most frequently used platform that traffickers and “johns” use to buy and sell women and children for sex in the U.S.

As a widely-used and well-known website, Backpage through its corporate owner Village Voice must end its complicity in the rape and exploitation of girls and women. Equality Now calls on Village Voice to abide by international human rights principles and demonstrate corporate social responsibility by shutting down its “adult” advertisements on Backpage.com and in its newspapers.

I write to you with deep concern regarding the human rights issue of sex trafficking. The selling and buying of women and girls for sexual exploitation violates their rights to bodily integrity, equality, dignity, health, and freedom from violence and torture.

I was concerned to learn that Village Voice Media, through its “adult” advertisements on Backpage, facilitates the sex trafficking and exploitation of women and girls in countries around the world. Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar global criminal industry that is fuelled by those who exploit and profit from the commercial sex industry, including traffickers, pimps, the “buyers” of commercial sex and companies that profit from and facilitate exploitation. Girls and women who have been trafficked suffer life-long harm.

Governments, human rights advocates and private companies must work together to end this human rights scourge. I understand that the internet is now the most frequently used platform by traffickers and “johns” to buy and sell women and children for sex in the United States, and as one of the most widely-used websites for “adult” advertisements, Backpage.com profits greatly from them. The United Nations has recognized the role the internet can play in facilitating sex trafficking, and has called on private businesses to make sure they are not complicit in sex trafficking making them “partners in exploitation.” I urge you to join other newspapers and online advertisement websites who have taken an unequivocal stand against sex trafficking and exploitation by refusing to post and profit from “adult” advertisements. I hope you will show corporate responsibility and uphold human rights by shutting down the “adult” section on Backpage.com and in your newspapers to help put an end to the rape and exploitation of girls and women.

Thank you for your attention.
This petition is no longer active.
This petition has a goal of 1000 signatures
1-25 of 1068 signatures
Number Date Name Location Add a personal comment to ...
1068 Thu Oct 10 20:11:13 EDT 2013 Anonymous North Vancouver, BC , CA
1067 Thu Oct 10 19:30:27 EDT 2013 Rachel Prior-Tsang Vancouver, BC , CA
1066 Thu Oct 10 17:36:59 EDT 2013 Jackie Lynne Vancouver, BC , CA
1065 Mon Jun 24 14:41:31 EDT 2013 Anonymous Chehalis, Select a state , US
1064 Fri Jun 21 07:07:55 EDT 2013 Anonymous Sandy, United Kingdom
1063 Sun May 12 23:16:40 EDT 2013 Autumn Burris Encinitas, CA , US
1062 Wed Apr 24 17:32:22 EDT 2013 Gabrielle Thomas Santa Monica, CA , United States
1061 Mon Apr 15 11:11:59 EDT 2013 Mathieu Caron-Fournier Longueuil, QC , Canada
1060 Wed Apr 10 01:12:00 EDT 2013 Tory McCrea Austin, TX , United States
1059 Fri Mar 22 09:50:04 EDT 2013 Elizabeth Hyer Swampscott, MA , United States
1058 Tue Mar 19 13:24:38 EDT 2013 Marlene Hester New Orleans, Select a state , US
1057 Thu Mar 14 00:27:56 EDT 2013 Lisa Collins Bellingham, WA , US
1056 Sun Feb 24 09:57:15 EST 2013 French Guevarra Bergenfield, NJ , US
1055 Tue Feb 19 12:33:18 EST 2013 Sheena Visti Garfield, NJ , US
1054 Fri Jan 11 19:41:56 EST 2013 Kyla Hodges Stamford, CT , United States
1053 Mon Dec 03 23:27:18 EST 2012 Anje Scarfe ADELAIDE, SA , AUSTRALIA
1052 Fri Nov 30 17:20:41 EST 2012 Chelsea Bennett VIC , AUSTRALIA
1051 Tue Nov 27 19:07:44 EST 2012 Claire Hickey LISMORE, NSW , AUSTRALIA
1050 Fri Oct 26 06:59:45 EDT 2012 Sue Carr Coventry, United Kingdom
1049 Sun Oct 21 14:37:14 EDT 2012 Ranaye Schrantz Osceola, WI , US
1048 Sun Oct 14 12:37:17 EDT 2012 Lena Ostroff North Hollywood, Select a state , US
1047 Sat Oct 13 22:01:08 EDT 2012 Zahra Hemani Oklahoma City, OK ,
1046 Sat Oct 13 07:46:52 EDT 2012 Frances Ballin Cardiff, ot , United Kingdom
1045 Fri Oct 12 21:40:09 EDT 2012 Caroline Lord London, ot , United Kingdom
1044 Fri Oct 12 19:22:35 EDT 2012 Anonymous San Diego , United States
Next ->

This petition will be delivered to Mr. Jim Larkin, Village Voice Media CEO & Board Chair and Mr. Carl Ferrer, Vice President, Backpage.com, LLC.
If you would like to fax or send an individual letter, or would like to learn more about the campaign, please follow the link below:
http://www.equalitynow.org/take_action/sex_trafficking_action401