A change.org petition is scheduled to be presented at a rally outside the New York offices of The Village Voice tomorrow. The rally will start at 11:00 am on March 29 at the north end of Cooper Square in New York City, near The Village Voice offices. The petition requests the closure of the adult section on the classified ad site backpage.com. The Village Voice owns and operates Backpage.
The text of the petition, which currently has over 219,000 signatures, reads:
Stop Providing a Platform for Child Sex Trafficking on Backpage.com
Dear Mr. Larkin and the Village Voice Media Board of Directors,
Please shut down the Adult section on Backpage.com and stop providing a means for others to sell girls and boys for sex.
By Village Voice Media's own admission, additional safeguards are unlikely to entirely end the practice of minors being sold on the site. For us, one child sold for sex is one too many.
Please get out of the Adult services business immediately.
Classified ad site Craigslist had to contend with similar opposition to its erotic services section. It eventually gave in, removing the section from its site.
Backpage is now coming under the same scrutiny. The Village Voice is fighting back against the tide of protesters and negative media coverage. The company has downplayed the role that Backpage plays in human trafficking, stating that:
"...no amount of vigilance on our part — or cooperation with law enforcement — is perfect.
This is something every responsible parent whose child confronts the temptations of the street
and drugs understands. With tens of millions of classified ads under review in hundreds of cities, there is going to be a small percentage that involve human trafficking and that are difficult to detect and eliminate. But improving technologies for monitoring and moderating classified sites, not taking them down, is the effective solution."
What do you think? Should The Village Voice take down the section permanently or does their right to publish supersede the fact that their site makes sex slavery easier? Leave your comments below.