A stronger case for backpage.com to stop providing an avenue for exploitation
Detroit police have linked three women found murdered to the backpage.com adult-ads section within the past week. Time for this website to be shut down.
TO the dangers of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking associated with backpage.com's adult-ads section, add a horrific twist.
Women using the site for encounters with men have been turning up dead in Detroit. Two women were found in the trunk of a car a week ago. On Christmas Day, two more were found in a car trunk, their bodies burned beyond recognition.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph L. Godbee said three of the four were linked to backpage.com's adult-ads section, adding that the police went public with that information "to alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the Internet can be extremely dangerous."
Backpage.com cannot continue to dismiss the women and children exploited through the website, nor the three women in Detroit who are dead possibly because they were trafficked on the site. Revenue from the exploitation and physical harm of women and minors is despicable.
Village Voice Media, which owns backpage.com, must shut this site down. Until then, all the pressure that can be brought to bear must continue.
That includes the 51 attorneys general behind an August demand that backpage.com eliminate its adult ads. The states' top law-enforcement officers have been joined by similar calls from city mayors including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, as well as clergy members and prominent advocates nationwide.
Backpage doesn't deny that sex ads involving minors can appear on its website.
A letter by the attorneys general notes that "in a meeting with the Washington State Attorney General's Office, backpage.com Vice President Carl Ferrer acknowledged that the company identifies more than 400 'adult services' posts every month that may involve minors."
Moreover, during the first eight months of 2011, back-page.com reported 1,595 cases of suspected use of juveniles in sex ads to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has received 147 calls (both tips and crisis-line calls) about backpage.com in three years as well as reports of 92 potential trafficking cases, 23 of which involved underage victims.
These horrifying statistics of exploited women and minors cannot be denied. Time for this avenue of criminal exploitation to be stopped.
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