Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09) held a press conference in front of the Village Voice headquarters- a subsidy of parent company Village Voice Media- calling on the executives of the company to take down the adult advertisement section of its Backpage.com website. Many cases have been reported of the site being used for the sex trafficking of young boys and girls, as well as adult prostitution.
"Today, I am calling on Village Voice Media to shut down the adult section of Backpage.com," said Turner. "The sex trafficking of young children and adult prostitution on the site are too outrageous to ignore. Village Voice Media cannot, in good conscience, maintain a site that exploits women and children."
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. The estimated average age of victims forced into prostitution for the first time is between 12 and 14 years of age for females and 11 to 13 for males. The National Association of Attorneys General has tracked more than 50 cases of trafficking or attempts to traffic minors on Backpage.com. The site is also reported to be the leading website for prostitution advertising in the United States.
"As a father and grandfather, I want to bring as much attention to this issue as possible," Turner continued. "I cannot sit back while these despicable crimes continue. We cannot allow there to be a single opportunity for our children to be exploited."
Congressman Turner's introduction of House Resolution 646 on Monday continues the bipartisan effort to put pressure on Village Voice Media to take down the adult section of its site. Craigslist came under similar scrutiny and eventually eliminated its adult advertising section after extensive public backlash.
"I am proud to work alongside my colleagues in Congress on this important issue. I believe by working together, we can make sure Village Voice Media does the right thing. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to keep our children safe."
CNN's Anderson Cooper recently mentioned Congressman Turner's resolution during one of the many AC 360 segments looking into the issue.
Congressman Bob Turner represents New York's 9th Congressional district and serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and House Committee on Homeland Security.