DENVER (CBS4)– A website that has featured ads for underage girls is still up and running but that is something one group wants to stop.
There’s a new push to have a section of backpage.com removed after advocates claim too many children have been exploited.
The sex-related ads on backpage.com are reported to generate millions of dollars a year in revenue for its parent company, Village Voice Media. That company owns Westword, a popular publication in the Denver metro area.
The advocate group, fairgirls.com, wants to stop the adult section of the website and is asking other Denver companies to stop advertising until the section is pulled.
The commercial tells the true story of a 13-year-old prostitute with an actress detailing her experience, “I thought he loved me for real, but he made me work every day. He sold me to four sometimes five men a day for $100 an hour. One time there was 10 men in one day.”
The group Fair Girls is responsible for the TV ad. They are working to prevent exploitation of girls.
“In the last year, the majority of the girls we serve almost all of them who have been sex trafficked have been have been advertised by their pimp using backpage,” said Co-founder of Fair Girls Andrea Powell.
Police in Lakewood said the stories and others like it can be true.
“We did a lot of arrests, issued a lot of summons from those ads on Backpage,” said Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis.
They are accused of being ringleaders in the child prostitution ring. Village Voice Media cooperated with police and turned over 700 pages of evidence to police before most of the arrests.
Fair Girls is asking advertisers of Village Voice publications, like the Westword, to pull advertising until the company closes the adult section.
“Those who are paying to be connected to Village Voice Media have the most power to affect change,” said Powell.
The general council for Village Voice said the adult section is monitored, nudity is prohibited and they reject and report any ads suggestive of under age prostitution.
They also believe shutting down the section of the site doesn’t address the larger internet problem and will actually take away the access and information they offer to law enforcement that gets them closer to the victims and the perpetrators.