The Case Against Backpage.com

Friday, November 04, 2011

Transcript

The classified site Backpage.com—which is owned by Village Voice Media—is under fire for ads in its "adult" section that are sometimes used for trafficking minors.  Last week, a group of interdenominational clergy took out an ad in The New York Times asking Village Voice Media to shut down the adult section of the site.  Bob speaks with one of the letter's signers, Reverend Katharine Henderson, who says even one case of child sex trafficking on Backpage.com is one too many.

Comments [11]

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Mar. 07 2013 12:01 AM
Fred from usa

Pretty disturbing, that woman basically said she doesn't care about the facts or the first amendment, all she cares about is her theoretical victim.

That is about the most blatant "for the children" type excuse I've heard so far.

Nov. 14 2011 02:13 AM
Sean from Aiken

Is it really more important to shut down this particular site and its services, as unliked by some as they may be, or is it more important to help the children being victimized? Does anyone really believe that simply shutting down this one site will change the hearts and minds of those organizing these horrible acts? Wouldn't it be better to use the site to find those groups that we can and shut them down? They would stop posting on backpage.com eventually, but at least several dozen traffiking groups could be put out of commision in the process. Isn't taking out a few better than losing them all?

Nov. 13 2011 08:21 AM
Judy Bell from Northern California

I'm not sure why I can't get my head around why, but it struck me as troubling that while the Auburn Theological Society is trying to close down Backpage, parents are teaching their children to lie about their age for a Face Book account. It would seem anyone of any age of any ilk can set up an account (including perhaps all those people who used Backpage to traffik underage girls into sexual slavery).

Nov. 09 2011 02:36 PM
Scott from North Carolina

It seems that OTM will sacrifice a lot under the guise of freedom of speech - going so far as to align themselves with those who would abet and profiteer from child exploitation. I wonder, would OTM sacrifice the innocence of "1000" children to allow Backpage.com to continue active engagement with child predators?

Nov. 07 2011 07:47 PM
Therese

In the 1970s the East Bay Express in Berkeley routinely advertized NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association. I protested to the editors, but apparently the board was OK with this advertizing, as it was not removed at the time. Subsequently we have been horrified by the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, and in other denominations--in the Boy Scouts--in sports etc. But apparently we are unwilling to make the connection between such advertizing and the use of underage minors for sex. I applaud the efforts of Rev, Henderson for exposing this travesty of so-called First Amendment freedom. What hypocrisy.

Nov. 06 2011 10:13 PM
HunterJE

This issue has been framed by the likes of Auburn Theological Seminary as being about child sex trafficking, but their tactics of pushing the shutdown rather than reform of any venue for adult classifieds reveals their true purpose, which is the elimination of venues not only for child traffickers but of legal interaction between consenting adults.

Nov. 06 2011 05:55 PM
Ruth Oppenheim-Rothschild from Chicago

I appreciate On The Media for its critical approach to complicated issues, but this segment gave Rev. Henderson free air time to spout her ideology. The current attack on Backpage has led to the arrest of many consenting adult women, but it hasn't rescued any children, because there are a lot fewer youth prostitutes than anti-trafficking groups like to claim and most have chosen prostitution as a viable source of income. I find it interesting that this segment followed one on how we teach our children to lie, as these organizations seem perfectly comfortable saying they are concerned with the welfare of children when their real interest is the elimination of vice. Rather than addressing the needs of at-risk youth, like housing and employment opportunities, groups like Henderson's destroy the livelihood of consenting adults and drive youth prostitution further underground. OTM listeners might be interested in the study conducted by Ric Curtis and Meredith Dank, which gives a clearer picture of the experience of youth prostitutes. Mythologizing these youth as victims, arresting them, and turning them back out on the streets doesn't do them any favors.

Nov. 05 2011 06:18 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus OH

Does no one find it interesting that the Village Voice is a politically left-wing editorial voice? Imagine if a right-wing site or media organization supported itself in this way. OTM would be howling on a weekly basis, as would the rest of the 'mainstream media' about the hypocrisy. Yet the Voice has for a long time campaigned against 'sexism' against women and for empowerment of the weak, etc.

There's some kind of metaphor in there, somewhere, about doing as I do and not as I say, something particularly a problem for the bourgeois Left in this country. I'll give OTM props for even looking at this uncomfortable situation, but it should have been on the case long ago. 'Alternative' newspapers, of which the Voice is the grand-daddy, started supporting themselves with skeevy advertising as far back as the L.A. Free Press that I remember from the 1970s.

Nov. 05 2011 04:38 PM
Marie Fabian

I tried to post about this earlier but my comment went to the wrong story -

The line of questioning to the president of AuburnTheological Society regarding the efforts to get the Voice to shut down its adult section of Backpage.con, which pushed the question of whether it is worth making the effort when the child sex trade business will just find another venue for its solicitations, is some of the worst journalistic questioning I have heard on NPR . I am usually very impressed with your program and was quite disappointed by this today . . . .

Nov. 05 2011 04:27 PM

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