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Protecting Our Children

Today I signed onto an OPEN LETTER to Village Voice Media, saying that “we agree with 51 Attorneys General. Girls and boys should not be sold for sex on Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com.”

Mr. Jim Larkin, CEO and Chair
Members of the Board of Directors
Village Voice Media 

Dear Mr. Larkin and the Board of Directors of Village Voice Media: 

It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex.

So we were surprised and stunned to realize your company, Village Voice Media, continues to publish an Adult section on its classifieds Web siteBackpage.com that has been used as a platform for the trafficking of minors. 

Arrests of adults selling minors for sex via Backpage.com have been reported by the media in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland,Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. And these are just some of the cases that have been documented. 

As moral and religious leaders of many creeds and backgrounds, we are united in calling on your publication to shut down the Adult section of Backpage.com. We appreciate your efforts to put in place new measures attempting to screen for ads featuring minors. 

However, we do not believethat these measures are doing enough to adequately solve the problem, and we share the opinion of the nation’s 51 Attorneys General that the bestway to eradicate your company’s connection with the sex trafficking of minors is to shut down the Adult section of your Web site, as Craigslist did. 

We trust that your company shares our outrage over the sex trafficking of minors. While we empathize with your business challenges and the increasingly difficult marketplace in which Village Voice Media competes, we trust that you are committed to running your business withoutcompromising the lives of our nation’s girls and boys. 

We know there is much more to be done to end the sex trafficking of minors beyond what we ask of you. Ending this practice for good requires agroundswell of people in our business, media, and religious communities joining together in partnership. We need educational campaigns and robustlaw enforcement to challenge all dimensions of the problem, including the poverty and abuse at the root of the practice. 

But we can do something right now to help these girls and boys. Please shut down the Adult section of Backpage.com immediately so that no minor is exploited through advertisements on your Web site.

[The letter is signed by leaders of national religious organizations including: Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of URJ Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America…

and now by me…

Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA

Learn more about this campaign to protect our children on the Groundswell website.  Perhaps you will sign onto the citizens letter.  

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