DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned it was the parents of a runaway who tipped off police to a child prostitution ring in Colorado.
The website that featured ads for the underage girls is defending its policies. Backpage.com says it does what it can to protect children. They say their site is monitored and even has a page explaining to users about human trafficking.
Backpage.com does have an adult section with an “escorts” link. There are hundreds of options under that link. It’s where some of the children in the Colorado prostitution ring were advertised.
Backpage.com com is owned by Village Voice Media. The company turned over 700 pages of evidence to police before most of the arrests.
“Backpage adult services section is well monitored 24/7, nudity is prohibited in our ads and ads are rejected and reported … if they are suggestive of an underage person,” Steve Suskin with Village Voice Media said in a statement.
The prostitution ring was discovered after a Wheat Ridge couple reported their daughter as a runaway, fearing she had been forced into child prostitution.
“A good percentage of them are runaways, and they’re victims,” Barb Murphy with Cans for Hope said. “They’re promised a job, they’re promised a place to stay and they don’t feel good about themselves.”
Murphy says the five victims in this latest case will have a long recovery. She collects and recycles cans to raise money to help victims of child prostitution.
“They can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, eating disorder, cutting; there are lots of issues to deal with,” Murphy said.
Murphy says there is little government funding for sex abuse victims and hopes the money she raises will help.
“They need somewhere they can go so their lives can be recycled. I said, ‘I’m going to recycle lives one can at time,’ ” Murphy said.
Murphy says she raised $9,000 last year and hopes to raise more this year.
Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry.
LINK: Cans for Hope