Another young face of backpage trafficking

backpage2

Natalie’s story: life as a child prostitute:

This is a great piece from Sara Jean Green of the Seattle Times about a 16-year-old girl who they call Natalie who has been prostituted on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

As I’m sure you know Seattle has had more than its share with underage girls being found trafficked on backpage. It’s gotten to the point where Seattle mayor Mike McGinn has gone after backpage and the Seattle Weekly to change their ways.

Back to the article though. Again this is one of those articles that really needs to be read in its entirety as one of my bad summations will not do it anywhere near the justice it deserves. However I will give you one quote to make sure that you will read the article…

She lost her virginity to an Everett pimp who raped her soon after she left home the first time. She never knew his name.

This is real people. This is actually happening. It’s not overblown as Village Voice Media would have you believe. Real children are being trafficked in the pages of Village Voice Media publications and backpage but nothing will change unless you take a stand.

Stand up for freedom and not greed.

Mayor Mike McGinn lays the smackdown on Seattle Weekly

Fictional representation

Fictional representation

Afternoon Jolt: McGinn, The Weekly, and Child Prostitution:

It seems that this past week Seattle mayor Mike McGinn appeared on a local radio show along with Seattle Weekly Editor-In-Chief Mike Seely over the prostitution ads in the Village Voice Media owned Weekly and backpage.com.

Mr. Seely had this to say about the Weekly and backpage defending their questionable business practice…

“Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession for a reason. If you’ve got Backpage.com cooperating with law enforcement, you’re a lot better off and the problem will get eradicated a lot more quickly.”

So basically he’s saying that backpage is doing the world a service by having pimps in traffickers all in one place. Never mind the fact that women and children are being trafficked on their site daily.

Mayor Mike McGinn fired back with some common sense…

“I don’t really think we’re in the business of trying to promote fencing operations for the sale of stolen goods so that it makes it easier to attract burglars, nor do I think we open up other kinds of illegal operations to attract criminals. Our duty is to work to stop” child prostitution, not draw pimps to a particular web site.

I tend to not vote for Democrats however if I lived in Seattle Mayor McGinn would have my vote.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn meets with Village Voice Meida

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That is the press release that Seattle mayor Mike McGinn released after meeting with representatives from Village Voice Media this past Friday. Mayor McGinn has been active recently in trying to get VVM to help stopping the trafficking of children on backpage.com. The press release can also be viewed here. (PDF file)

In the press release Mayor McGinn said that he would like VVM to implement a safeguard where ‘models’ that want to advertise on backpage produce a photo ID in order to place an ad. VVM said that they would get back to him in 1-2 weeks.

I wish Mayor McGinn went a little further in his request to curb child prostitution on backpage because I see problems with this approach. Someone who has made a career in trafficking women and children would probably have no problem in procuring fake IDs.

However thinking back on it this may not be the worst idea. Before craigslist shut down adult/erotic services the states Attorneys General chipped away at craigslist until they finally shut down the section altogether. Unfortunately I doubt VVM will be so agreeable.

Seattle Weekly slams Seattle mayor Mike McGinn

vvmedia

Who’s Fooling Mike McGinn?:

I really would like to know what it takes to work for Village Voice Media. Do you have to swear fealty to the head of VVM? Do you have to fill out your application in the blood of virgins? Is there a reprogramming system that rewires your brain to support human trafficking? Are their families being threatened in a Mafia-like way? Or is it just plain greed?

Anyway Seattle Weekly Editor-In-Chief, Mike Seely, has poison penned this column in response to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn pulling city ads from Seattle Weekly. Again, Seattle Weekly is another propaganda arm of Village Voice Media.

As usually Seely attacks the statistics that allegedly say that 100-300K children are being trafficked in the country per year. VVM says the number is more like in the hundreds.

Does it really matter if it’s in the hundreds or hundreds of thousands? Children are being trafficked and they are being trafficked on backpage which as we all know is owned by Village Voice Media.

However many millions of dollars that VVM says that they’re spending to review their ads it’s obviously not enough. It must not be anywhere near the millions that they’re making on the ads that traffic women and children.

Face up to reality people. It’s all about the money. VVM is not taking a stand because of some First Amendment issue. It’s all about the money they make off the ads. Without the money made on the backs and knees of women and children VVM has a better than average chance of going out of business. So basically they’re taking out their flawed business plans on the women and children being trafficked on their sites. You know, like an actual pimp would do.

Seattle mayor pulls city ads from Village Voice Media paper

Mayor Mike McGinn

Mayor Mike McGinn

McGinn orders city to suspend ads in Seattle Weekly:

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn has ordered that all ads placed by the city to be pulled from the Seattle Weekly. That’s the Seattle propaganda arm of Village Voice Media. The ads result in roughly $158K which I’m sure would be a blow to the cash strapped VVM. McGinn has ordered the ads pulled because of the prostitution and human trafficking ads on backpage.com.

Again an agent of VVM tries to act like they’re at the forefront of combatting human trafficking.

“I don’t know how that constitutes game-playing,” said Andy Van De Voorde, executive associate editor for Village Voice Media, speaking from Denver. He said the numbers used by activists were exaggerated and have been “subjected to so little scrutiny.”

He added: “We have never downplayed the seriousness of teenage prostitution.”

Van De Voorde said, “We have more than 100 people whose sole job is to screen ads.” And they notify law-enforcement authorities whenever they suspect anything illegal, he said.

You downplay the seriousness of child prostitution just by having the ads on backpage. I know they know this. The problem is that VVM relies so much on the money made from these ads they will not go as quietly as craigslist did. Craigslist used the ads mostly for traffic before they started charging for them which eventually led to them shutting the ads down even though they appear in other places of craigslist but I digress.

Also if 100 VVM employees are scrutinizing ads for illegal activity it’s obvious they’re not doing enough. They’re probably doing what craigslist did and are only pulling the ads that would make them somehow legally responsible.

It comes down to this. The reason that VVM keeps saying that the statistics of children being trafficked in the US is overinflated is because their salaries depend on it.

Ashton Kutcher a fan of Seattle mayor

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher stands with Seattle Mayor McGinn:

Speaking of Seattle mayor Mike McGinn (because we were, you know) it seems that Ashton Kutcher has become a fan of his after Mayor McGinn issued his recent letter targeting the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

Mr. Kutcher tweeted the following to his 7 million plus Twitter followers last week…

“I think every mayor should take human trafficking as serious as @mayormcginn in seattle http://t.co/BaxIDoz #dna”

The #dna hashtag refers to the Demi and Ashton Foundation which was started to help combat human trafficking. The same foundation that Village Voice Media has said is relying on faulty human trafficking stats. VVM would say that since they make so much money from prostitution and human trafficking ads on backpage.

It’s refreshing to see a celebrity endorse a politician over an actual cause and not just because it’s in line with the Hollywood group think.

Seattle mayor targets Backpage

Mayor Mike McGinn

Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle mayor, police target Village Voice classifieds:

I occasionally chide Seattle for being overly liberal and overrun with filthy hippies. Sometimes, as in this case, it’s not a bad thing. Seattle and King County have been two jurisdictions that have been at the forefront of taking an active role in the fight against human trafficking.

So it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the Ashton Kutcher/Village Voice fight Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has issued a letter to Village Voice Media (PDF Format) asking them to a sit down with Seattle police in order to help better fight human trafficking.

Also not surprising is that the Seattle Weekly (Village Voice Media’s Seattle propaganda arm) is acting like they’re actually combating human trafficking…

Seattle Weekly’s Editor-In-Chief, Mike Seely, said he’s pleased Mayor Mike McGinn is concerned about sex trafficking and underage prostitution, but noted Village Voice Media has been working to combat it longer than Kutcher has.

Seely said the “majority of Backpage.com’s employees are charged with making sure inappropriate or illegal adult or personal content either doesn’t make it onto the site or is reported to the proper authorities or advocacy organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”

If this is true, which I doubt it is, I hate to see the ads that don’t make it on to backpage. That’s the thing though, I doubt every single claim made by Mr. Seely.

This is a black and white and issue for most of the world. You’re either against human trafficking or you’re not. By leaving the adult and escort ads on their site backpage and Village Voice Media is showing that they’re not. There is no spin to sexual slavery.

(I apologize for the delay in posting this story)