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sex trafficking of kids must be frontpage news, not backpage

“if prostitution of children is illegal, why is there an estimated 100,000 underaged boys and girls sold for sex in america each year, mostly on a single website called backstage.com?”

This is how Kristof’s article commences in “teenagers stand up to backstage” NYTimes nov 2, 2104.

Backpage presents itself as an online site for actors and casting directors. It is a searchable acting-job database of casting notices with interactive audition lists. And the monthly traffic on this site went from the hundreds to the thousands to the millions. But backpage is also involved in sex trafficking in america, perfecting a business model that profits from aiding and participating with pimps and traffickers in the sexual exploitation of children. kids are advertised the same ways they advertise cars, but of less value.

Backpage blocks police and family efforts to trace girls. They systematically scrub photos in sex ads of metadata that would allow authorities to track down people hidden in these ads. backpage allows scrambled phone numbers in sex ads making it impossible for police to unscramble to see kids advertise. For example, if a dog is sold on bakpage in the pet section a numeric phone number must be posted but to sell sex with a girl you can use non searchable versions – such as zero12-345-six78nine- which makes it difficult for police or family members to locate a missing child by using a simple internet search. Backpage also allows ads to be paid for with untraceable credit cards or even with bitcoin, not requiring any age verification or real names.

Many letters have been written against backpage by attorneys from 48 states, but backpage lawyers insist that they’re committed to effective measures of prevention and tell authorities what they wish to hear to divert them: they’re committed to the successful prosecution of this heinous crime. In addition to this backpage floods the authorities with reports of possible underaged girls in order to pretend to be helpful while impeding the effort of authorities. But they will not use software that can detect ads for underaged girls.

Sex trafficking of children is taken more seriously than sex trafficking of adult women report some sites. And if that is the case, why are we not doing more when we know that backstage puts up a front to authorities? When some kids have run away form being raped and hired for sex and have told their horror stories, why are we allowing backpage to continue to sell sex in seven cities of the united states of America (see site below) when we know where they are and how they’re hidden?

One of the most searing human rights abuses in America and the world is the sexual exploitation of children. Perhaps because they’re minors and are defenseless against adult predators. They’re minors because adults tell them they cannot make a decision on their own before 18. Adults who run companies like backpage decide for them; and they’ve decided to sell them for sex.

We live in an age when restaurants can be shut down in an instant for mice or other unhygienic and unsafe environments. You only have to make a call to the authorities and they investigate immediately. But when kids are peddled like pizza, we let businesses stay open to fill the sexual stomachs of those having the money to gobble and destroy these helpless kids.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/tracking-scope-u-s-underground-sex-trade/#.VGirpl3fxEI.mailto


2 Comments

  1. rhettlowe says:

    Appalling! I knew that the problem was bad but I did not know that it had reached this extent. The estimate of $40 million to $300 million per each of the 7 cities surveyed is damning. It clearly implicates the service and advertising industries as accessories to this heinous crime. No network of common street pimps, no matter how organized, can rake in that kind of money; corporate america is either looking the other way or actively helping the sex trade, and walking away with the bulk of the profits. I find the term “underage sex worker” wholly inadequate to describe these young victims. It has a sanitizing effect. The term should be replaced in public discourse with something like “children forced into sex slavery.” Clearly this needs to be a priority for law enforcement. As it is a national problem, the states attorneys general need to secure the requisite funding for shutting these rings down and go after them ruthlessly. But they must also go after the hotels, online ad websites, and all other businesses that are facilitating this exploitation of children. The only thing the people running these companies understand is money…let’s take all of it, and then, I predict, the situation will improve.

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