In the wake of an online petition started by Ohio minister Justin Wassel, over two dozen advertisers have pulled their advertisements from Village Voice Media. According to Wassell, Backpage.com, a website dedicated to listing classifieds from all across the country, frequently runs ads for children prostitutes, a practice he brought to the attention of the site's numerous advertisers. As the number of virtual signatures on the petition grew, so did the number of companies who no longer wished to do business with Village Voice.
"I’m thrilled to hear so many companies have dropped their advertisements from Village Voice Media publications,” Wassel stated in a recent interview. “Many of them are major national brands who cater to families and children, so it’s only natural they should be concerned about their advertisements supporting child sex trafficking."
Here's the full complaint as stated on the Change.com petition:
On Backpage.com, there are countless adults and minors being trafficked every day through the ads posted. Traffickers may falsify photos, ages, and certainly identity, or have other adults or minors 'available' as an addition or alternative to the person posted. It is extremely easy for them to circumvent any existing and lacking laws and policies that prohibit this. Although Village Voice cooperates with police with investigation, there are so few that are actually captured per the hundreds of adults and children that are exploited every single night, who are forced to suffer through 5 to 20 acts of intruisive, illlicit sexual acts, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (minus days where the victim has been too ill or injured from abuse to perform).
Presently, 27 companies have pulled their ads from the site. The list of ship-jumpers includes American Airlines, AT&T, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Buddy Stubbs, Carnegie Hall, the Children’s Wish Foundation International, Crown Imports LLC, H&M, Harkins Theatre, Harley Davidson, High Times, Ikea, Live Nation, Macy’s, Miami Dolphins, MillerCoors, New York Public Radio, the NYC Film Forum, Park Avenue Church, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, REI, Relativity Media, Starbucks, T-Mobile, and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Those are some big names with a lot of money to spend on advertising.
Will you continue to support Village Voice Media if they don't clean up Backpage? You can read a few Twitter reactions to the news below.
http://t.co/1Ow3B5CD That's what you get for helping sex traffickers you jerks.Village voiceless: