The social service organization known as FAIR girls released an ad campaign this week aimed at convincing Village Voice Media to remove the adult ads on their website, Backpage.com. According to MediaPost, the ad campaign went online today, and features an actress portraying the life experience of a 13-year-old sex trafficking victim. The ad campaign also asks people to sign an online petition to stop Village Voice Media from accepting adult ads. The 30-second video will air on Sunday during “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” and on cable next week.
Many critics of Backpage.com say that the listings site assists the victimization of young girls, while the website argues that it works accordingly with the law to identify and prosecute human traffickers. The ad campaign from FAIR girls was debuted while Backpage.com is in the midst of litigation issues over its adult ads.
Backpage.com is challenging the laws in both Washington and Texas, which make the act of posting such adult ads a felony in Washington and a crime in Texas. Backpage.com is arguing that these state laws run counter to part of the Communications Decency Act, which states that Web sites aren’t responsible for illegal posts by users. The Internet Archive, which monitors records of more than 150 billion old Web pages, joined Backpage.com to fight the Washington law in court. Internet Archive has suggested that the law is too broad and can therefore be applied to a vast majority of Web sites.