It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex. Yet Village Voice Media’s classifieds website Backpage.com continues to earn revenue from others who pay to place advertisements that may result in the sale of boys and girls for sex via the Web site's adult section, despite safeguards that have been implemented.
As parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and caretakers to children ourselves, we need to create a groundswell of responsibility to shut down Backpage.com’s Adult section in order to remove a venue for the trafficking of girls and boys by others on its Web site.
More than 600 faith leaders and 250,000 people are part of a groundswell of supporters across the faith and moral spectrums in this effort. Join us in calling on Village Voice Media to permanently shut down Backpage.com’s Adult section immediately.
Sign the petition to join thousands of individuals raising their voices in support of these boys and girls.
Join our advertiser education effort. Click here to take action and learn more.
Member of the clergy? Click here to join hundreds of clergy of all faiths in telling Village Voice Media to shut down the Adult section of Backpage.com.
Special Clergy Action Item: Click here for a guide to crafting sermons on this issue.
Click here to hear about our delivery of more than 250,000 petition signatures to the headquarters of Village Voice Media's flagship New York publication The Village Voice on March 29th, 2012. 3 New York City Council Members, 20 Clergy, and 75 community members attended -- and we really made a splash in the media.
In the news: Auburn President the Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson appeared on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss the issue of child sex trafficking the clergy coalitions efforts - watch the clip here.
John Buffalo Mailer (Son of Village Voice co-founder) joins campaign
Click here to read what Village Voice Founder's son John Buffalo Mailer had to say about our efforts to combat sex trafficking.
Timeline of Communication with Village Voice Media
Click here to read our timeline of communication with Village Voice Media representatives, which resulted in a meeting on December 7th, 2011 in New York City.
Letter to Village Voice Media following private meeting
Click here to read the letter that the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary, wrote to Village Voice Media after the December meeting.
National Association of Attorneys General Letter to Village Voice Media
On August 31, 2011, 46 state attorneys general signed this letter to Village Voice Media, which calls Backpage.com a hub for the trafficking of minors and calls on the website to shut down its adult services section.
NGO Coalition's Letter to Village Voice Media regarding Backpage.com
Click here to read a letter sent by more than 50 non-governmental organizations working directly on the issue of human trafficking.
Media Coverage of the Campaign
Click here for a summary of the print, radio, and TV coverage.
Our Full-Page New York Times Advertisement
View and download a PDF of our full-page ad in The New York Times.
Groundswell does not necessarily share the views and opinions expressed in the resources or of the organizations linked below.
The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America's Prostituted Children
The National Report is the culmination of ten field assessments conducted in targeted locations in the United States, providing a comprehensive understanding of child sex trafficking across America. This unprecedented report reveals the startling reality that American children are being recruited from our neighborhoods and sold on our streets!
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In the U. S., Canada and Mexico
University of Pennsylvania US National Study
Funded by the National Institute of Justice, this project collected and used first-generation baseline data concerning the prevalence of child sexual exploitation in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The project identified the nature, extent, and causes of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the region; and the modes of operation of networks of adult criminals engaged in CSEC.
Female Juvenile Prostitution: Problem and Response
This report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Study provides information on establishing and maintaining a community program to help victims of child prostitution that includes histories of former juvenile prostitutes.
Organizations and Links
A Future. Not a Past. is a statewide campaign to stop the prostitution of girls in Georgia. The campaign is tirelessly addressing the issue through a four-tiered strategy of research, prevention, intervention and education.
ECPAT: End Child Prostitution and Trafficking
ECPAT is a network of organizations and individuals working together to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children around the world. It seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. ECPAT is the leading policy organization in the United States and belongs to an international network of organizations that have offices in 73 countries around the world.
GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services
GEMS, in New York State, has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change
Not For Sale
Not for Sale equips and mobilizes smart activists to deploy innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe. The website includes a brief questionnaire to help you identify the best projects and programs for you to become involved with.
Shared Hope International exists to rescue and restore women and children in crisis. They are leaders in a worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery through education and public awareness.
Survivors Connect is an online resource and networking place for survivors of sexual violence and exploitation to connect, share and help one another and be a united voice against violence.
DEMAND features investigative footage of the dark and hidden world of sex traffickers, pimps and buyers. DEMAND exposes the men who buy commercial sex, the vulnerable women and children sold as commodities, and the facilitators of the sale within the marketplace of exploitation.
Last weekend, participants of the Interfaith Weekend of Prayer and Compassion met in their churches and communities to preach, pray, converse, light candles and write letters to the children at our borders.
After witnessing the destruction of rainforests in his South American home, the Pope is calling our failure to protect the Earth a “sin of modern times.”
Thousands of people of faith have signed the Groundswell petition calling on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to stop bullying the workers rights group VOZ over LGBT equality, and the media coverage keeps on coming, but the hard truth is that VOZ took the right moral stand — and lost a big grant.
This morning, President Obama issued a long-awaited executive order ending discrimination against LGBT people in hiring by federal contractors — without the so-called religious exemption loophole that some conservative religious leaders had called for.
Right now, our response as people of faith to the humanitarian crisis of migrant children at our border will not only decide what policies our leaders pursue, but also what values the soul of our country will reflect.
Lucky for all of us, Auburn Seminary and the Center for Progressive Renewal will be in the same place at the same time this summer – the National Church Leadership Institute, August 7th-10th in Atlanta.