Laura Clarke is an International Relations graduate living in London. She enjoys writing, talking and, thankfully, quite likes rain too.
Women’s Rights – A campaign has been launched by the women’s rights organisation Equality Now, calling on Village Voice Media to stop aiding sex trafficking. The company owns the website Backpage.com which hosts classified ads, among which are a number of ‘adult’ ads that serve to facilitate trafficking.
Village Voice profits substantially from the hosting of this content, having made $2.6 million in January 2012 alone from the ads put out in 23 U.S. cities. While Village Voice has attempted to exclude ads deemed to be assisting the trafficking trade, reports continue to emerge of sexual violence committed against women and children advertised through the website.
Last month, “a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped and sold by traffickers via Backpage to multiple men who raped and sodomized her. Her traffickers’ use of “adult” ads…proves the ineffectiveness of Village Voice’s screening efforts,” said Equality Now.
The internet now provides the dominant forum through which traffickers and ‘johns’ buy and sell women and children in the U.S.. The use of the adult ads strategically placed on websites is one of the major means through which traffickers are able to advertise their ‘products.’
Equality Now has a history of successful campaigns to advance the rights of women and girls around the world. This newest campaign is vital to addressing one of the primary ways in which exploitation is able to take place and the trafficking trade continues to boom. We must all do our part to ensure that companies like Village Voice are held accountable for their failure to protect the vulnerable.
Visit Equality Now for more information on the campaign and how you can help.