Apr 01, 2012
by April Hedrick

Craigslist, Backpage.com and What You Can Do to Stop the Sale of Children Online

It was a wonderful day when Craigslist shut down their adult services section back in September, 2010 ending their massive role in sex trafficking. The decision came following pressure from 17 state attorneys general who argued that it should be removed because of posts selling sexual services with victims of human trafficking. And perhaps equally influential the general public spoke out. Public outcry was due in part to a courageous letter printed in the Huffington Post by 2 Craigslist trafficking survivors pleading with Craigslist to stop being a means of rape for profit.

Just how big of a deal is it that Craigslist was persuaded to “close it’s doors”?
Craigslist is free for a lot of postings, but for sex it costs $10 per listing. They had 16,000 listings per day and generated $40 million per year! This was definitely a huge step toward curbing sex trafficking. But, as you would imagine, pimps and johns didn’t have to go far to continue their “business” dealings.

Backpage.com already had booming business when Craigslist closed it’s door on sexual exploitation. And their business exploded as these advertisers went straight to Backpage with hardly a blip in their business. Incidentally, Backpages’s parent company, Village Voice Media, also owns Phoenix New Times and has one of their 2 offices in Phoenix.

Backpage is now, deservedly, under attack for it’s adult services section. Trafficking victims forced into prostitution via Backpage are speaking out just like the girls sold via Craigslist did. And people are listening and joining in the fight to persuade Backpage that money is not worth more than the lives of children being raped for profit.
Change.org has a petition on it’s way to gathering 200,000 signatures. Will it be enough? Will our elected officials join in and put pressure on Backpage? More importantly, will you?

About Hope Marketplace

A marketplace of goods and ideas supporting freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Read More »