City calls for shut down of child trafficking website
The Minneapolis City Council approved Aug. 17 a resolution calling on Village Voice Media to cease publication of Backpage.com, its online classified section that facilitates the trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.
The City Council also approved today amending the City’s fiscal year 2013 federal legislative agenda to add support for legislation that works to end the sexual exploitation of youth by building a system that responds effectively to their needs, including sufficient resources and training for law enforcement and service providers.
Minneapolis Police report that all 20 child sex trafficking cases it’s investigated so far in 2012 involved juvenile victims being marketed and "sold" via Backpage.com. Numerous advocacy groups, law enforcement officials and religious organizations have called for the shutdown of this website. The National Association of Attorneys General has also filed charges against a person who trafficked or attempted to traffic minors using Backpage.com in more than 50 instances in 22 states over three years.
Trafficking in Minnesota
According to the Advocates for Human Rights and the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs of the Minnesota Department of Public, the scope of sex trafficking in Minnesota includes the following:
Over a three year period ending in 2008, service providers identified 731 sex trafficking victims
124 girls were sold on the Internet in Aug. 2010 alone, which is a 55 percent increase since Feb. 2010
The average age of a girls entry into prostitution/sex trafficking is 12-14 years old
According to one service provider, 8,000 to 12,000 people are estimated to be involved in prostitution/sex trafficking in Minnesota every day.
On a national level, the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs estimates that as many as 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation.
Published Aug. 17, 2012