Some of the money that was going to Craigslist went to Backpage and other sites.
But a least some of the business seems to have disappeared.
Sex trafficking will probably always exist in some form or another, but Malika Saada Saar, the Rebecca Project’s founder, makes a convincing case that the ease and accessibility of big, well-known websites make it worse.
“Ads soliciting sex, including prostitution and including likely human-trafficking cases involving children, appear to be rampant on Backpage.com,” Kansas’s attorney general told reporters.
“I was shocked at the ease which our agents were able to apprehend the suspects in each of these cases.
If agents from the attorney general’s office are solicited this quickly, imagine how easy it is for pimps and traffickers to solicit sex.”Much as Craigslist did, Village Voice Media, which didn’t respond to requests for comment, argues that it can’t be responsible for what people post on its site, and that it helps law enforcement prosecute those involved in sex trafficking.
has stringent safeguards in place to ensure that only adults use the site.
We provided the FBI with the perpetrator's IP address and credit-card information.”There’s a valid argument that keeping sex ads on responsible sites that cooperate with police when necessary can make it easier to catch traffickers.But there’s also evidence that when mainstream venues for the buying and selling of sex disappear, not all ads migrate elsewhere.According to a study by the Advanced Interactive Media Group, the end of Craigslist’s erotic services section “put a huge dent in revenue generated by prostitution advertising.” Indeed, nationwide, it dropped by almost 50 percent, from million to .2 million.In September, when Craigslist dropped its “erotic services” section, Backpage.com, the classified advertising network owned by Village Voice Media, became the nation’s premier online sexual marketplace—and the most mainstream venue for the buying and selling of underage girls.Now The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, the group that got Craigslist to drop its sex ads, is trying to convince Backpage to do the same, and to do it before February, when activists expect a spike in sex trafficking around the Super Bowl.Last month, The Rebecca Project ran startling ads in a number of Village Voice Media-owned papers, featuring a man in a mugshot holding a placard saying, “I paid for sex with a 14-year-old child I found on Backpage.” Next to it was a message to Village Voice Media: “Each year, 100,000 children are sold for sex in America—many through your website,