Meant to get to this earlier, but as State Ass. Travis Allen would tell you, January 11 was Human Trafficking Awareness Day and while he is busy insisting California Democrats legalized child prostitution, another story was brewing. Backpage.com, which used to supply alt-weeklies like OC Weekly and LA Weekly with a steady revenue stream, shut down its adult classified section on Monday. The sites owners cite government pressure and censorship for the move in the midst of legal action against the site’s owners.
So if you’re a customer seeking legalized child prostitutes, as State Ass. Allen insists exist, you can no longer order them up like a pizza on Backpage.com.
From a column in the NY Times opinion pages:
As a 16-year-old high school sophomore living in Boston, Asia Graves was sold on the internet “like a pizza,” she recalls, handed over to be raped by strange men every day.
Along with thousands of other girls, she was sold through what amounts to an online brothel called Backpage. It dominates the online sex trade and is implicated in almost three-quarters of the reports of child trafficking in the United States.
Yet this week offers a moment to celebrate. Under political and legal pressure, Backpage on Monday closed its “adult” advertising section, used to peddle women and children for sex. There’s also an overdue effort to hold its executives criminally and civilly liable.
“(sex trafficking) It’s also a topic rife with hypocrisy. We denounced the Catholic Church and Penn State for tolerating child sexual abuse, but we have collectively tolerated websites like Backpage that sell children for sex.
That has steadily been changing. Credit card companies stopped processing payments for ads in Backpage, undermining its business model. Kamala Harris, then California’s attorney general and now its new senator, filed criminal charges in December against Backpage executives, with arraignment scheduled for this month. Civil suits in Washington State against Backpage are proceeding. A film about trafficking, “I Am Jane Doe,” opens in theaters next month and shines a light on Backpage as “the Walmart of human trafficking.”
Most important, a Senate subcommittee, led by Rob Portman, a Republican, and Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, has done outstanding work investigating Backpage and showing how it achieved a valuation of more than half a billion dollars by working with human traffickers.
A devastating new subcommittee report shows that the company protects pimps from their carelessness by deleting hints that a girl is underage. For example, if a pimp tries to post an ad for a “Lolita,” “little girl,” “school girl” or “amber alert,” those terms are automatically stripped from the ad — but it is still posted, so the girl will still be sold for sex.
One Backpage document indicated that by 2010, more than 70 percent of its ads in the adult section were being edited like that, suggesting that the company was far more involved in manipulating content than it ever let on.
We need Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act to clarify that companies like Backpage don’t get protections when they permit pimps to sell kids on their websites. There is a mounting bipartisan effort to pass such an amendment, and I hope President-elect Donald Trump will show leadership on this as well. We also need local police departments and prosecutors to go after pimps and johns, rather than sometimes targeting the children who are the victims.”
Last sentence bolded for State Ass. Allen’s attention.
OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano is also quick to remind readers abut the horrific behavior of the Catholic Church in OC and elsewhere who swept the problem of pedophile priests under the rug for years. And he should. Yet Arellano will never once address the fact that — for years — a portion of his paycheck was earned on the backs of underage girls and boys pimped out by Backpage.com as the site was a significant revenue generator for Voice Media, which owned OC Weekly for years, and helped pay staff salaries.
Want to throw mudballs at the chuch? Fine. Make sure your own hands are clean first.