Photo: Vivian Giang – Business Insider
20 seven major advertisers, including H&M, AT&T, and Ikea, have pulled their ads from Village Voice Media due to the company’s alleged links to child sex trafficking.Justin Wassel, a minister from Ohio, started a Change.org campaign asking U.S. companies to pull advertising from Village Voice Media after one of its properties, Backpage.com, was accused of allowing advertisements that support child sex trafficking.
The Voice, meanwhile has mounted an aggressive defence of Backpage.com with a series of blog posts and stories that seek to debunk the idea its classified ads are a source of sex slavery. Some of the posts The Voice highlights argue that, perhaps, prostitution should be legal.
Big money is at stake: Sex worker ads used to be carried on CraigsList, but that company banned them Now, a huge number run on Backpage—and The Voice is keen to protect the franchise.
Backpage.com accounts for close to 81% of all online prostitution ad revenue in the United States, according to a study by the AIM Group. The website has been involved in the facilitation 50 cases of child sex trafficking in the last three years.
Since last August, 51 Attorneys General have called for Village Voice Media to discontinue its publishing of the adult services section of backpage.com. This was followed by a series of protests led by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and supported by a number of celebrities.
In early April it was revealed by The New York Times that Goldman Sachs owned a 16 per cent share of Village Voice Media. The firm promptly sold its stake in management.
Last week, Pearl jam, Alicia Keys, R.E.M., and Talib Kweli issued a joint statement urging Village Voice Media to “ensure no child is sexually exploited through use of its site.”
Here are all of the companies that have pulled advertisements from Village Voice Media so far:
American Airlines, AT&T, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Buddy Stubbs, Carnegie Hall, Children’s Wish Foundation International, Crown Imports LLC, H&M, Harkins Theatre, Harley Davidson, High Times, IKEA, Live Nation, Macy’s, Miami Dolphins, MillerCoors, NY Public Radio, NYC Film Forum, Park Avenue Church, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, REI, Relativity Media, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Tribeca Performing Arts centre
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