Backpage.com, the classified advertising company notorious for its erotic services section, will not be sold to Denver-based Village Voice Media Holdings along with the rest of the Village Voice family. Noted human rights activist Ashton Kutcher famously blames Backpage for all sex trafficking and child prostitution that has ever happened, and, when he’s not making racist Pop Chip ads, spends time calling them child rapists on twitter. Poor misunderstood Backpage.com. Look, this is terrible:
In July, three Washington state teenagers who said they were sold online for sex filed suit against Backpage’s owners for allegedly enabling their exploitation. At the time, Village Voice Media said the suit wouldn’t pass legal muster and is barred by federal law. [AP]
Make no mistake, I am 100% and forever against rape, child abuse, and sex trafficking. I agree that it is awful, terrible, and must be stopped. But this is stupid:
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on Backpage.com in an open letter in March to “stop promoting and profiting from human trafficking” by shutting down its adult services section as Craigslist had done. [AP]
Yes, as we all know, sex trafficking was cut in half when Craigslist shut down erotic services. Now if only those big awful pro-child rape jerks at Backpage would shut it down, no person would ever be trafficked again. Truly, the only thing keeping sellers of children in business is the opportunity to advertise. Oh wait! Here’s a story from just days ago about noted child rapist Jerry Sandusky and his non-Backpage-affiliated ring of children being sold for sex!
And, as Charlotte Shane pointed out in Tits and Sass last year, closing places like Craigslist erotic services and Backpage not only makes it harder to catch and prosecute traffickers, it makes it that much more difficult, expensive, and unsafe for legitimate sex workers to get business. We, as a country, need to stop kidding ourselves that we can legislate sex work out of existence. But more than that we need to stop cheering when some senator bullies a legitimate business for doing its thing instead of doing his job and passing legislation to fund efforts to actually STOP TRAFFICKING.
I swear, we love to point the finger at anyone but the people who are actually to blame: the person selling a child for sex and the person buying it. Well, at the very least, we can be happy for what’s left of the Voice staff that they’re back in Kutcher’s good graces. For now.