Activists Picket New Times Building in Protest of Backpage.com

Categories: Protesters

backpage1.jpg
James King
This was the scene outside of New Times' downtown Phoenix offices this afternoon.

​From 15 to 20 protesters picketed New Times' downtown Phoenix offices today in protest of Backpage.com, a classified ad website owned by our parent company, Village Voice Media.

"Slavery is an outrage, stop the traffic Backpage," the protesters yelled at passing cars.

The collaboration of special-interest groups protesting called themselves the "11.16 Coalition," and included activists from the Frederick Douglas Foundation, the National Organization of Women, and a group calling itself "Southern Arizona Against Slavery."

A similar protest, drawing about 50 people, was staged outside our sister paper, the Village Voice, in New York City.

According to the group, VVM is "facilitating the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of individuals."

One of the protesters -- who previously protested Craigslist.com over similar "sexual-exploitation" complaints -- admits that shutting down Backpage.com will not put an end to human trafficking. He goes on to say that VVM isn't directly making money from human trafficking but is profiting from the ad revenue generated by the website.

VVM's newspapers across the country have published several lengthy cover stories exposing  the myths of human sex trafficking. The links to the articles can be found at the bottom of this post.

backpagepriest.jpg
James King
The Reverend John Hall, rector at the St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Chandler.

Additionally, VVM issued the following memo to employees:


We expect the entire staff to respect the rights of everyone assembled.

At the same time we want our people to understand that not only do we disagree with the protestors, we believe their understanding of the issues to be built upon misinformation.

You should also understand that Village Voice Media is the industry leader in policing our site to keep underage kids out of adult classifieds.

In their announcement of the protest, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women stated that there have been 50 cases of trafficking identified by law enforcement in the last three years.

What CATW neglected to mention is that in the period of time Backpage.com ran nearly 100 million classified ads, of which approximately 14 million were adult.

We can only hope that CATW will respect the First Amendment rights of the millions who use Backpage.com

In the interim, we ask that you, and all readers of Village Voice Media, support Senate Bill 596.

Below are links to the articles exposing the myths of sex trafficking:


Lost Boys
Real Men Get Their Facts Straight
Women's Funding Network Sex Trafficking Study Is Junk Science
Ashton Kutcher Fights Human Sex Trafficking in Iowa Newspaper
Ashton Kutcher and the Problem of Underage Prostitutes
The Schapiro Group Responds to Our Cover Story About Sex-Trafficking Study

My Voice Nation Help
63 comments
macimay
macimay

This Coalition; Frederick Douglas Foundation, the National Organization of Women, and Southern Arizona Against Slavery is actually engaged in profiting off the criminalization of prostitution.  POVERTY PIMPS

Jill Brenneman
Jill Brenneman

The protest against Backpage by CATW, NOW and Prostitution Research and Education is another example of harmful actions and campaigns by elitist feminist academics against both consenting sex workers and trafficking victims.  These alleged feminist activists claim they are fighting human trafficking by protesting Backpage  to force the closure of its adult advertising, but his is theatrical garbage activism that is toxic to the very people they purport to be trying to help. I am a consenting sex worker.  I was, at one time, a human trafficking victim.  I am still doing sex work in my 40′s because I need the money to pay bills, including medical needs related to multiple blood clots in my lungs; without sex work I could not afford the medical care that I need to survive.  It is not the right of alleged feminists to take my income or that of so many of those like me.  We work to live and to pay our bills, just like you high and mighty CATW, PRE and NOW activists… Backpage adult advertisers are nearly all independent sex workers who are neither pimped nor trafficked, and shutting down Backpage would eliminate a major advertising venue that we use to stay independent.  You would know this if you asked us rather than feigning expertise.  We need our jobs and will keep them, but the closure of advertising spaces makes us vulnerable to the very pimps and traffickers that this garbage activism claims to be fighting.  When our independence is taken away we become vulnerable to predators that will exploit our labor because we lack options.  When I was a teenage trafficking victim and advertising venues closed for whatever reason, I wasn’t freed from prostitution.  My sadist pimp didn’t suddenly end my captivity and free me; he just put me on the street instead, which was far more dangerous to my safety and exposed me to the harsh elements.  I would truly like to see these supposed experts work the street for weeks in the winter in a northern city and come back and tell me that I was better off because advertising failed and I was out in the cold.  Still a slave, just a much colder and much more vulnerable one getting into cars alone. You high and mighty abolitionist activists disgust me; if you knew anything about this issue you wouldn’t be taking this rubbish approach.  Yes, you can trot out your “survivor” activists who were harmed in the sex industry to advance your position, but these survivors are allowing their pain to misguide them into promoting a criminalization model in order to ostensibly end harm to prostitutes by ending prostitution.   I, too worked to advance that garbage until I woke up and realized the harm I was causing as an abolitionist filled with the bullshit lies of abolitionist feminism, a movement led by vacuous intellectuals who were never prostitutes and choose to assuage their pain by tearing away the rights of those in the sex industry. Let me tell you what your efforts to “eliminate” prostitution actually accomplish:  You team with law enforcement officers who disingenuously claim to care about trafficking victims but are actually seeking to arrest more prostitutes.  We suffer as a result of your alleged “concern”; the risk of arrest keeps us from having access to law enforcement when we are the victims of crime while doing our jobs.  Pimps and violent clients know that we can’t go to the police and won’t because we fear the police, getting arrested and all the consequences that come with arrest.  We can’t be honest with our doctors when we suffer brutal rapes and assaults because we can’t explain our injuries without exposing ourselves to legal risk.  You think that’s a positive?  Try having a violent LEO client brutally rape you, suffocate you with a trash bag and hit you in the head so many times that you are taken via ambulance to the ER, incoherent with a major concussion, and are not even able to honestly explain how you were injured. You think it’s worthwhile abolitionists?  Try meeting with a “reputable” businessman who realizes you are legally defenseless and so feels safe in overpowering you, tying you to a bed and beating and sodomizing you with a bamboo cane while forcing you to count the strokes.  You take 493 violent blows all over your body as I did; the bastard shoved my underwear and fee into my mouth and left me blindfolded, bleeding and tied to a bed.  Please….  Come tell me feminist anti prostitution activists protesting Backpage how I benefit from your activism.  Tell the other sex workers who saw me immediately following these assaults if I was better off with your criminalization.  And now you wish to further criminalize prostitution AND close our advertising venues.  Great.  So I and others like me can be criminalized and shoved into the hands of pimps and traffickers.  You and your activism disgust me. Tell me how your efforts helped me or the “submissive girlfriend” of a man who wished to beat her so hard before my eyes that I truly doubted that “girlfriend” actually consented.  I’ve seen these people first hand.  I’ve been harmed by them.  I’ve been absolutely vulnerable to them, and this man was one of them.  I could do nothing but reject his offer to hire me; I had no way to report my suspicions to the police without risking arrest myself, and as a prostitute I had zero social credibility even if I did go to the police.  Likewise, the “girlfriend” had no protection from being arrested if she was ever found.  I went to a friend who is also a police officer and asked for advice, and was told to leave it alone:  there wasn’t enough evidence and as a sex worker I wouldn’t be deemed credible enough for law enforcement to take action, yet I would expose myself without helping her.  Maybe she will get lucky like I did and get away through a fluke, but it sure as hell won’t be because Backpage was shut down or because we are all made criminals; instead, there will be far more like her.  Perhaps some who are independent escorts now will end up like her, brutally harmed because their options for safety were taken away by grandstanding activists and their clueless and self advancing politician and law enforcement allies. Feminist anti-prostitution activists protesting Backpage:  you are harming both consenting sex workers and trafficking victims.  You can write all the pretty press releases about fighting trafficking, sexual slavery and pimps that you want to, but I have lived the reality of your “work”.  Someone has to expose your lies and self-serving career advancement tactics that harm the rest of us.  I have been hurt in the sex industry – a lot – and the hurt continued because I was and am a criminal, deprived of rights.  I can call you on your BS from the perspective of someone who has been harmed because of you, and I am happy to do it because you are toxic, harmful frauds.  Preach to your choir and get your support there because those of us that are hurt by you know who you are; we know what you are doing and we are paying the price for your toxic activism.  Now come tell me how I benefit from your “work”.-- 

Jason Cox
Jason Cox

All they could get was 1 grandma, 4 soccer moms and 1 bald priest? 

They need a marketing department... get jessica alba as a spokes-woman, get sponsored by subway and starbucks to hand out sandwiches and coffee... I'd show up and I don't even care! 

Stacy
Stacy

The protestors should picket the Gov's office... for facilitating women going into prostitution.  If you ask a good number of women in prostitution, you'll find that many have been cut off or denied social service benefits (because of Brewer's budget cuts) and now they have to do what ever it takes to bring in a buck.    Leave VVM alone and go after the root of who puts women in these positions in the first place.

Guest
Guest

So if you're covering a protest that sheds unfavorable light on the New Times, you cover it fairly but then post a variety of links to dissenting opinions and facts to back them up. Why not the same fair coverage when posting crap about how much you think the County and all of its employees suck big time? This page is about as fair and balanced as Fox News

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

"Additionally, VVM issued the following memo to employees."

Awesome response... Too often lately, people think that respecting others' beliefs and viewpoints is just "being P.C.", yet those same people bitch and moan when they can't put the 10 commandments on public property and so on.

More of life should follow the Golden Rule. If you don't want people to disrespect your beliefs, don't disrespect theirs. A great example is all of these Right wingers who think that our entire government should be run according to the Bible. That goes against MY beliefs that religion has no place in governance AT ALL...

That said, I particularly like this part:"In their announcement of the protest, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women stated that there have been 50 cases of trafficking identified by law enforcement in the last three years. What CATW neglected to mention is that in the period of time Backpage.com ran nearly 100 million classified ads, of which approximately 14 million were adult.

So that works out to 0.000357% of the adult ads on backpages.com, and the statement doesn't say if all of these cases were from ads on backpages or not. Even if they were, 0.000357% is less than the number of battered women each month, less than the percentage of soldiers killed by friendly fire in our little wars that Dubya, the "child president"(credit goes to Hunter S. Thompson for that one), and it sure as Hell is a smaller percentage than that of children raised in abusive households that didn't allow abortion. Where's the protesting there?Seriously, these people need to get their priorities straight. Yes, ANY form of child prostitution/sex slavery is a problem, but instead of going after a legitimate classified ad, rally for increased funds for vice and child crimes squads...Oh wait, increased funds means higher taxes, and we can't have that..."Beliefs? You think that protest was about beliefs? Wrong. It was about you getting paid by traffickers. You're so happy when you own employees kiss your ass and write the comments you want to hear. "Awesome response" ie. "Hecka of a job, Brownie!""

What the fuck are you talking about? You been smoking that bad meth again? Of course it was about beliefs. These people believe that child trafficking has reached epidemic proportions, and backpage.com is the root cause of it all.

Are you somehow trying to insinuate that I work for VVM? What a fucking retard. I'm not the author, welcome to the Internet where people who DIDN'T write an article can comment on it.

And as for this guy:"So if you're covering a protest that sheds unfavorable light on the New Times, you cover it fairly but then post a variety of links to dissenting opinions and facts to back them up. Why not the same fair coverage when posting crap about how much you think the County and all of its employees suck big time?

Are you saying that there are sources out there that are credible and show that Arpaio isn't a corrupt media whore? Please show us what HE has personally done that wasn't constructed to get his ancient mug on the 5 o'clock news.

Philip James Cenedella
Philip James Cenedella

CLICK HERE for more information on the Village Voice protests nationwideCLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON THE BACKPAGE AND VILLAGE VOICE PROTEST AT CAL. STATE FULLERTON ON OCTOBER 6, 2011CLICK HERE for the National Association of Attorneys General demand letter to backpage.com  ANNOUNCEMENT:The National Boycott of the the Village Voice and all their sponsors starts Nov. 16th, 2011.Our demand is simple:  "Stop Selling Children and other human trafficking victims on all your papers, websites and related properties that you directly or indirectly control.  We the people will not spend another nickle with you or your sponsors until this is done."Call: 888-206-3264 or email: phil@stopslavery2011.com If you have any questions on the Village Voice / BACKPAGE direct connection to the human trafficking (slavery) of children and other human trafficking victims then please go to google and type in  "backpage human trafficking victim" to get information from other sources (currently over 401,000 results)

Wanumba
Wanumba

They all look like they need to get laid.

Johnny Skee Mask
Johnny Skee Mask

Prostitution by women is the one of the oldest professions in the history of mankind. Dating far back to they earlier civilizations in the Middle East.

BearsInBriefs
BearsInBriefs

"According to the group, VVM is 'facilitating the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of individuals.'"

So I guess the group should be protesting Ford for facilitating robberies and Chevrons for facilitating arson?

Great logic, protesters.

The courts ruled in the Backpage case (and many similar cases) that liability belongs to the person committing the crime, not the "facilitator."

Pecee69
Pecee69

Sex or sexiness is used universally to sell things, cars, movies, alcohol, beauty products, clothing and on and on. I believe if consenting adults who are sane, healthy and voluntarily wish to sell the actual act of sex then so be it, please lets drop all the hypocrisy that surrounds this topic.

Not Surprised
Not Surprised

Hmmm, these ads have been on the back page of NT for what 20 years+, and they're just now deciding to picket in protest?

They're just ads.  NT doesn't force anyone to call them.

Sounds more like sour grapes and maybe some attempt at retribution by some EV tea party members for NT's news coverage of their fallen corrupt politician!

Native Guns
Native Guns

I think sex really does sell. It is a billion dollar a year industry, whether in the adult film industry or escort services. They will not succeed in ending the business. However, I do agree that illegal sex trafficking of women is wrong and should end. But the vast majority of women who advertise themselves on the market, do so out of their own free will. And these women should have that special freedom to sell themselves as they see fit. It is their choice, and not by "slavery".

Robert
Robert

I would respect the owners of Backpage if they actually keep the adult ads thing open. However, they will bow to pressure and certainly close it down once the coallition of Attorney State General requests they stop.

normajeana
normajeana

Wonder when those moral busybodies are going to demand the closure of athletic programs and charities like Second Mile around the country where coaches like Sandusky have unfettered access to their victims- WHOM THEY DO NOT FIND THROUGH ADULT ADS ON BACKPAGE.COM -  or do these people only care about adult ads and adults perhaps engaging in commercial sexual activity? Bunch of hypocrites! I have yet to hear of any of them get upset or outraged about the child sexual abuse of those boys... because they only seem to be interested in "women and children (female)" who may be trafficked. I guess as long as these boys are victims of upstanding members of the community whom everyone adores, we can all look the other way.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Religious people trying to dictate morality.   Isn't that a hoot?    There are many things wrong with the world but backpage.com is not one of them.    There is no trafficking of anyone on that site and to use that excuse is just that..an excuse.   People who believe in fictitious events that are supposed to govern the thoughts of others need to mind their own business.   How many millions have been killed in the name of Christianity?   One person is too many.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

To clarify, I do not favor a blanket illegalization of prostitution (e.g., most of the US), nor a blanket legalization (e.g., Vegas, Amsterdam, etc.). Neither of these models has been empirically shown to reduce the amount of sex trafficking, nor improve the working conditions of voluntary sex workers. I instead favor the Swedish model: sale of sex is legal, but purchase of sex is illegal. This is designed to put power back into the hands of sex workers, hopefully helping to prevent horrific incidents like the ones you have faced. I admire your courage and respect your experience, but I disagree with your conclusions, not because I am some ivory-tower academic simply theorizing, but because I have heard opposite conclusions from people in situations similar to your own and frankly find them more convincing.

Interested party
Interested party

Does that mean that Kelso and GI Jane aren't the spokepeople any more?

Johnny Skee Mask
Johnny Skee Mask

Good answer, hon. The best comment on here. Glad you're not Eleanor.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

yeah go after republicans. They are the root of all evil!

Rick
Rick

Beliefs? You think that protest was about beliefs? Wrong. It was about you getting paid by traffickers. You're so happy when you own employees kiss your ass and write the comments you want to hear. "Awesome response" ie. "Hecka of a job, Brownie!"

Rick
Rick

You sure of that? What makes you an expert? How do you know the oldest profession isn't selling the woman next to you for money?

Dunc1952
Dunc1952

Type your comment here.Really? Hypocrisy?  You must not have children.  We are trying to protect those that can't, for whatever the reasons, and there's many, many heartbreaking reasons, can't protect themselves!  Backpage.com has absolutely no way to "discern" which numbers, coded communication, etc. is for children...read up, find out for yourself, you'll be disgusted and enraged.  We are NOT wild-eyed, disgruntled, right-wing, ultra-conversative, religious fanatics...just people wanting ALL people to be free!  You too!

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

We're not talking about consenting adults. We are talking about people being FORCED into prostitution against their will, and minors (who are unable to legally give consent) in prostitution, both of which AUTOMATICALLY constitute sex trafficking under federal law.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

yup, as if people hooking up for sex is a bad thing! IT sure is better then having people rape others!

Dunc1952
Dunc1952

Shame on you Norma Jean!  Who said (these protestors didn't, I was one of them) anything about Coach Sandusky's victims? We all weep for those children as we do for all victims! What is "moral busybodies" about wanting to stop sex trafficking of children/women? As another responder stated, this is about 13th Amendment rights, not 1st Amendment rights. What one fact noted was hypocritical? Please use common sense, reality, and facts when presenting an opinion.  Better yet, google some of these non-profit organizations and see the amazing things they are trying to accomplish for the safety and future of all those in slavery.  Don't think for one minute that human slavery/trafficking does not exist; sadly, it does.

Rick
Rick

Backpage sells boys too, Norma Jean. And what makes you think that people who take the time to protest the facilitation of sex traffickers by Village Voice wouldn't care about the sexual abuse young boys? That's just silly. Think about it. What you wrote was silly, right? I await your response.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

There actually are over 50 documented cases of sex trafficking (forced prostitution) via backpage.com across 22 states within the last 3 years alone. Literally as this protest was going on yesterday, in fact, a Phoenix man was arrested for forcing 2 teen girls into prostitution, arranging all the booking via backpage.com. See this link: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/...

This is not an issue of First Amendment free speech. It is an issue of Thirteenth Amendment FREE PEOPLE. End sex slavery now!

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

those same people are the same ones that made up fake stories about rapes and murders that didn't occur on an old chat room I used to go to called Theglobe.com. It was killed because of those same nitwits.

Jason
Jason

Walter, pick up a newspaper before you get on your soap box. No trafficking on the site? That's a hoot. Read any publication EXCEPT a Village Voice publication and come back with your new understanding of the issue. You see one guy with a collar and turn it into people "dictating" something to you. Well, someone had better help Village Voice understand morality. 

jill brenneman
jill brenneman

Andrew,

I respectfully ask that take a few moments to read a four part interview I gave. http://maggiemcneill.wordpress...

In it you will find that I have very similar or more severe experiences than many to most trafficking victims. I also went through the process of being an activist from the side of the fence that you are your colleagues are advocating.  Until I began to listen to other perspectives and realized the toxicity of my activism and the unwillingness of my colleagues in that movement to look at what a majority of those from both sides inside the sex industry both consenting/non consenting were actually saying.  

The Swedish model is widely despised by Swedish sex workers.  It doesn't protect them. It isolates them to clients willing to take legal risks.  It is the clients that are unwilling to take legal risks involved in rape, in assault, in robbery, in trafficking that are the ones that are safer for the escort and for the trafficking victim.  The last thing anyone needs is to restrict a client base to someone unafraid of laws.  Beyond that, if a client runs into a suspected trafficking victim under the Swedish Model, he can't report it.  And she is trapped.  

I do not endorse us style legalization either.  I endorse decriminalization and sex worker rights.  Both of which are methodologies attempting to secure safety from harm for anyone in the sex industry.  

The idea has to be to end trafficking and coerced sexual slavery.  That doesn't come from causing higher risk to sex workers and trafficking victims.  

Unlike many others.  You seem like you do care.  I've been where you were doing activism from that perspective and believing I was doing the right thing.  Then I listened and looked around and tried to get my colleagues in that movement to at least look at what I was looking at and reform the activism.  They didn't.  And their activism is more toxic now than it was then.  I appreciate that the survivors that you have listened to have compelling arguments.  That is great if those perspectives are part of your basis.  But if they are entirely the basis, while admirable that you wish to help oppressed people, you are deliberately shutting out a majority of those that you are trying to help in your thought process.  I would truly advocate that activism does not have to be polar.  It doesn't have to be a "they right" "everyone else" wrong.  True commitment to social change requires broad spectrum view.

An FYI.  Prostitution is illegal in Vegas.  And all of Clark County which Vegas is part of.  You are thinking of the abysmal brothel system based legalization of parts of Nevada.  Which I am absolutely opposed to as a model because the state is doing nothing for sex workers other than making the brothel owners into empowered pimps and stripping the sex workers of rights, safety and their money.  Nevada legalization is not the same as Amsterdam legalization.  Entirely different.

Please, respectfully asking, take the time to read the interviews I gave, and explore wider perspectives.  You seem committed to positive social change.  That is imperative.  I just advocate that you look at a wider view and make sure you can say to yourself with full knowledge of what you are answering that you aren't inadvertently doing more harm than good. 

peace

Johnny Skee Mask
Johnny Skee Mask

Wow, a simple google search will address your inane question. Obviously, you're dumber than a unrecognized rock in the desert. Quit doing drugs, son. Its killing off those little brain cells in that thick numbskull of yours. But at that same time, I don't care what you do.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

Rick are you that stupid?

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

you people are psycho is what you are.

jill brenneman
jill brenneman

And Dunc1952 your actions lead to more violation of the 13th amendment.  Closing BackPage makes everyone more vulnerable to being exploited.  Not less.  Slavery exists. I know because I was one.  So you can save the lectures on the existence of slavery until you know what you are talking about.  Breaking out the cliches endemic to a very elitist and woefully out of touch anti trafficking movement led by protesters who have no first hand experience of the sex industry or of slavery doesn't make you an expert on this topic.  Lose the attitude and learn from the people who have been there.  There are more of us than just the few trotted out by the anti trafficking movement.  Norma has been in the sex industry.  She knows first hand where she arrives at her perspective.  You are reading it off the media kit of PRE, CATW and similarly out of touch organizations that rely far too much on feminist analysis and far too little on pragmatism and voice of those that have been there.  You know what it is like to be a slave first hand?  I doubt it.  

jill brenneman
jill brenneman

Rick, you speak as though you are an expert on the issue.  Have you been a sex worker, a trafficking victim, a non consenting sex worker?  You have first hand knowledge of what you are stating by virtue of what?  

AmeriKKKa's Nightmare
AmeriKKKa's Nightmare

Hey asswipe, do you ever bother clicking on the red flag to report children on such sites? When someone suspects a child is being advertised. It is flagged and reported. Simple as that.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

really where? I saw adult personals? ARe you telling me that they allow children on their? most of the ads I saw were from people that were over age 25, since I looked out of curiosity.

Jill Brenneman
Jill Brenneman

Andrew, if you want to end sexual slavery, the answer does come in forcing the closure of an advertising venue used 99 percent by independent consenting adult sex workers.  If one is to stop 13 year olds from being forced into the sex industry, then one has to stop what causes them to be vulnerable to being trafficked in the first place.  One gets caught by a trafficker because their home social structure has been denied for whatever reason and they have no other options other than what they find on the street.  Which tends to be traffickers.  If one truly wants to fight sex trafficking then sit at a major city bus stop and watch the predators prey upon those same children.  Those are your traffickers.  Andrew, I was a sex slave trafficking victim.  I got nailed by a predator because I was homeless, hungry, alone, young and desperate and someone preyed upon all those vulnerabilities and exploited me.  Shutting the advertising venues once I was actually captured and being trafficked just got me put on the street until a new advertising venue was located.  Trying to close Back Page is equivalent to trying to close the Holiday Inn because traffickers might use the rooms there and using tiny statistical arrests as proof that it is working.  Andrew, you seem well intentioned but you are buying into a viewpoint that is heavily slanted by an anti trafficking movement that is unwilling to look beyond it's own understanding of the issue.  The anti trafficking movement isn't remotely on the right path Andrew.  Their actions put far more people at risk of being exploited by traffickers, by pimps and by dangerous clients than anything remotely positive.  

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

why is it up to you to decide what morality is? Either buy their paper or don't. Since it's free it's kinda hard for you to bitch at them

jill brenneman
jill brenneman

Andrew, you aren't preventing it by what you are doing.  If you succeed you make it worse.  They got trafficked by "traffickers" not by Backpage.  BackPage is one of the things that make it possible for consenting adult escorts to remain independent rather than being driven into traffickers.  The survivors you stood with aren't the only ones.  There are plenty of us.  If you want to prevent it in the future than listen to all of us.  Not just those on your side.  As one of the survivors of modern slavery I know what it is like.  When you get what you are hoping for and cause more to be enslaved what happens then?  You say I'm sorry, I was wrong and should have listened to people that have gone through it but I thought I knew everything because I listened to a small minority led by out of touch radical feminists, self serving politicians and clergyman that have zero understanding of the issue.  I have to do sex work right now.  As so so many others.  None of us need to find that pimps running escort services are our only options to continue working because misguided activists won't listen.  It's great that you stood side by side with some survivors.  But the rest of us have a view point that is equally important to those survivors who happen to be aligned with you.  You are doing harm Andrew.  Probably unintentionally but nonetheless I and others pay the price for this kind of activism.  Including current non consenting trafficking victims.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

We stood with survivors of backpage.com trafficking that day, as stated above. They know better than anyone the horror of modern slavery, and we agree with our fellow protesters and sex trafficking survivors that this is too harrowing an experience not to act to prevent it in the future.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

well in that case I must be either a total internet noob, or stupid or a combo of both because ALL the pictures I saw were of people age 25ish and up.

And BTW if you are talking about code words for sex you mean like your buddy in the Minnesota Airport?

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

There are 'code words' used to indicate minors available for sex via backpage. Also, there have been numerous documented cases where an adult female was pictured but a minor was substituted at the point of sale. Read this for more info: http://www.tn.gov/attorneygene...

wtf
wtf

according to me, i have never seen someone who looks like 15 years on backpage or says they're under age.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

According to a study by some state Attorneys General, less than 1 in 5 flagged ads was actually removed by Backpage staff.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

I appreciate that you're actually thoughtful about this, unlike many of these commenters. I stand by my actions, however, and respectfully disagree. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

jill brenneman
jill brenneman

But it isn't all slavery Andrew.  I was a slave, your colleague was a slave.  We were not the only ones in the sex industry.  Driving others into slavery to make a stand saying business shouldn't profit from slavery is obscenely counter productive.  Slavery is an unambiguously immoral thing.  Putting toxic and unexamined activism before people is unacceptable.  The organizations, CATW, PRE, they are making money off slavery and they are increasing the risk of slavery with their activism.  One has to look at a whole picture and not part of it to ensure that they are doing something constructive in their activism.  

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

I respectfully disagree. But don't take my word for it: among the protesters was a survivor of sex trafficking via backpage.com who was standing with us in solidarity. She agrees with us that the bottom line is this: businesses should not be able to make money off of slavery. It doesn't matter if it's a sweatshop forcing people to work for no pay under violence in Bangladesh, or a pimp forcing people to work for no pay under violence in Phoenix. Slavery is an unambiguously immoral thing, period. Putting profits before people is unacceptable. I stand by my comments.

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