Gillibrand signs Senate resolution asking Village Voice Media to drop adult-services ads from Backpage.com

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Kirsten Gillibrand speaks. (EMILY's List, via flickr)
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has joined several colleagues to cosponsor a resolution asking Village Voice Media, owners of the online classifieds site Backpage.com, to shut down the adult-services section of the site.

The Sense of the Senate resolution calls for the company "to act as a responsible global citizen and immediately eliminate the 'adult entertainment' section of the classified advertising website Backpage.com to terminate the website’s rampant facilitation of online sex trafficking."

The resolution was introduced by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Gillibrand and six other senators from both parties.

The eight pages of legalistic prose list criminal convictions of people who advertised on Backpage.com, along with statistics and news reports that suggest the site is used extensively for sex trafficking and the exploitation of children.

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It cites one of Nicholas Kristoff's recent New York Times columns about Backpage, and quotes from John Buffalo Mailer, the son of Village Voice co-founder Norman Mailer, calling for the company to eliminate the adult-services section of the site. (Village Voice Media owns The Village Voice.)

Blumenthal was among the attorneys general who pressured Craig's List into shutting down its adult-services section in 2010.

Village Voice Media's attorney, Liz McDougall, also represented Craig's List; she issued a statement that doesn't specifically mention the resolution but does make the point she recently made before a City Council subcommittee, that removing adult-services websites from the web only pushes trafficking and child-abuse "underground" and puts it further out of the reach of law enforcement:

When access to the best evidence to locate victims and prosecute pimps is lost, the opportunity to stop human trafficking is lost. Victims and their exploiters will be hidden in the World Wide Web – not gone, just hidden out of our sight. This is not a solution.

You can read the full text of the resolution below:

Backpage Sense of the Senate