Another Victory for NOW-NYC: New York Magazine Drops Sex Ads

Congratulations to NOW-NYC, which last week persuaded another publisher to drop its sex ads. Several news outlets reported on the story:

International Herald Tribune, 11/6/07

New York Magazine agreed Tuesday to stop accepting sex ads after the local chapter of a women’s rights group threatened protests outside the popular weekly publication.

The National Organization for Women had accused New York of being a “marketing arm of the organized crime world of prostitution and human trafficking” because of classified ads at the back of the magazine with such tag lines as “Asians Gone Wild” and “Asian Dreamgirls”…

[NOW-NYC] has been asking other local media to stop taking the salacious ads and said it has won agreements to do so from 14 other publications including Time Out New York and New York Press…

“The magazine is really prospering now and it’s finally time to get out of a business that we were never comfortable being in,” [said Serena Torrey, spokeswoman for New York]…
Sex ads can be lucrative, reports Women’s Wear Daily, 11/7/07:

NOW estimated New York magazine draws about $10,000 a weekly issue [from sex ads], figures on which the magazine declined to comment. The spokeswoman also refused to discuss the organization’s contention in earlier press releases that the title “explicitly make[s] the distinction between legitimate spas and illegal massage parlors by featuring two separate ad categories and by charging up to three times the normal rate for the illegal businesses…”

In March, Time Out New York and smaller local publications like The Brooklyn Paper and Avenue signed NOW’s pledge to refuse to profit from trafficking. Time Out publisher Marisa Fariña said the magazine hadn’t dropped adult advertising “because we never had it,” and that massage parlors are required to fax in copies of their licenses in order to advertise.
According to the New York Sun (11/8/07), the heat is now on the Village Voice:

“Trafficking exists because there aren’t enough women to do this assembly line brothel work,” the president of NOW’s New York City chapter, Sonia Ossorio, said. While no one knows exactly how many women are prostituted against their will, it is indisputable that some come to New York with promises of legitimate jobs only to find these don’t exist and there’s only one way to pay off their debts.

One would think that this would be exactly the kind of exploitation the Voice would revel in exposing. But because the Voice is free, it apparently needs the revenue brought in by, this week, 10 pages of these ads.

And so its press release yammers on about how our freedoms are “under attack by the Bush administration,” and makes NOW sound like the Taliban, and finally trots out the same pathetic excuse New York once made: “If there is evidence that any advertiser in our pages engaged in…sex slavery…” Blah blah blah.

It’s hard to be part of the solution, when you’re part of the problem.

See also:

“New York Press No Longer Marketing Arm for Prostitution/Trafficking”
Under the new ownership of Manhattan Media, New York Press, a weekly publication, will be free of ads that advertise illegal massage parlors and blatant ads promoting prostitution. Manhattan Media initially will take a financial hit by dropping sex ads that have made up a sizable percentage of New York Press sales, but the long-term growth prospects for this widely-circulated newspaper dramatically increase as it is remade into a reputable publication.

“Tom Allon is a trailblazer,” said Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women in New York City. “He sees the future of the newsprint business, and that future isn’t reliant on the fast, cheap money of the prostitution industry…”

Today, trafficking human beings for sexual exploitation, labor, and domestic servitude is the third fastest growing illegal enterprise. The United States is the second highest destination in the world for trafficked women, with an estimated 17,500 women being smuggled in every year…

“The proliferation of organized prostitution in communities throughout New York is undeniable,” according to Ted Hughes, a law enforcement expert in organized criminal prostitution rings. “They are part of the local economy. Whether it’s the landlords who rent to traffickers at three times the market rate or the publications that act as the marketing arm of this organized crime, the scope of the problem is larger than most people would like to think…”

“We’re simply asking publishers to do basic due diligence and use common sense,” Ossorio said. “If someone calls wanting to place an ad that reads ‘Russian Girls, Young, 24/7’ what’s there to check out? Take the contact information and call the police.” This ad appeard in El Diario/La Prensa May 17, 2007.

New Competitor to Craigslist Rejects Ads for “prostitution services and other questionable listings”

Ask the Valley Advocate to stop profiting from the sexual exploitation of women
In the back pages of the Advocate, and on their websites, you will find ads like the following:

Escorts, Massage, or TVs/TS

REBEKA Sweet, Sexy & Sophisticated w/Hot, Tight Body 413-433-xxxx Most Saturdays 10am-6pm

LIPS OF AN ANGEL Will Grant U 3 Wishes Multiple Hours Avail. 413-657-xxxx

SOMETHING SPECIAL “Tiffany” “Emilly” N. Hampton to Keene to Brattleboro Hiring 18-25 yo 413-588-xxxx

HOT COLLEGE Co-eds Rule Summer! School’s Out, Clothes Off, SEXY Co-eds NAKED! 413-244-xxxx

Jessika & Jenni We Aim to Please! 2 Girls Avail, 24/7, in/out 860-268-xxxx

“EXOTIC HEAT” At Your Service! Cum See The Summer Sizzlin Special 413-657-xxxx

CONSENTING ADULTS Experienced professional service. Special rates for new clients. 413-977-xxxx

WET & WILD! Super Soaked & Sexy Sexy, Fresh New Faces 413-244-xxxx

“EXOTIC ENT.” Sexy Prof. Discreet 20 minute Specials! Cum See The End of Summer Specials 413-657-xxxx


NOTHING LIKE YOUR GIRLFRIEND Slim, pretty, 25, smart & *wild* 413-695-xxxx…
Adult Employment

Personal Assistant Hiring attractive female 18-30 for back rubs, oral and more. Call anytime 413-233-xxxx
While ads like these only take up a few pages in the paper or on the web, their financial impact is probably greater than they appear. Apparently it is common industry practice to charge commercial sex enterprises up to four times the standard advertising rates.

Over the past several months, we have delivered to the Advocate’s offices at Eastworks volumes of information about the link between escort ads and prostitution, the harms of strip clubs, and the fact that New York Press just decided to walk away from adult advertising. We have relayed our concerns directly to editor Tom Vannah. We have received no response. The ads continue. We invite you to join us in asking the Advocate to cease facilitating this business. Contact them here.

Pasadena Weekly: “Lives for sale”
“They’re always a point of concern,” Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian told the newspaper. “We follow up on them fairly regularly. I have always been surprised that the [Pasadena] Weekly underwrites the exploitation of women to some degree.”

Belltown Messenger: “Greed, Lust and Ink”
…the only motivation for running escort ads in the first place is unbridled greed-and these supposedly liberal publications can’t have it both ways when defending the rights of society’s underdogs in their editorial content…

Andrea Dworkin: Time for Progressives to Stand with the Victims, Not the Users (explicit language)
This is a political point: what once was the Left wants to be the user, does not want to be anywhere but on top of the used; and some so-called feminists want to be the user, not to be under, not to be the condemned, the injured.

“Trade – A Film Brings Sex Trafficking Home”
Trade makes it clear that traffickers do not operate in a vacuum. Theirs is a complex and determined industry, enslaving both women and children through coercion, violence, and drugs. It is painfully apparent in the film that there are often moments when everyday people could intervene – but choose not to…

New York Times: The Girls Next Door; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn
In Eastern European capitals like Kiev and Moscow, dozens of sex-trafficking rings advertise nanny positions in the United States in local newspapers; others claim to be scouting for models and actresses…

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps

Prostitution Research & Education: How Prostitution Works
Real sexual relationships are not hard to find. There are plenty of adults of both sexes who are willing to have sex if someone treats them well, and asks. But there lies the problem. Some people do not want an equal, sharing relationship. They do not want to be nice. They do not want to ask. They like the power involved in buying a human being who can be made to do almost anything…

Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years (M.H. Silbert and A.M. Pines, 1982, “Victimization of street prostitutes”, Victimology: An International Journal, 7: 122-133) or 14 years (D. Kelly Weisberg, 1985, “Children of the Night: A Study of Adolescent Prostitution”, Lexington, Mass, Toronto)…

Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%…

Pimps target girls or women who seem naive, lonely, homeless, and rebellious. At first, the attention and feigned affection from the pimp convinces her to “be his woman.” Pimps ultimately keep prostituted women in virtual captivity by verbal abuse–making a woman feel that she is utterly worthless: a toilet, a piece of trash; and by physical coercion–beatings and the threat of torture. 80% to 95% of all prostitution is pimp-controlled. (Kathleen Barry, The Prostitution of Sexuality, 1995, New York, New York University Press)…

“About 80% of women in prostitution have been the victim of a rape. It’s hard to talk about this because..the experience of prostitution is just like rape. Prostitutes are raped, on the average, eight to ten times per year. They are the most raped class of women in the history of our planet. ” (Susan Kay Hunter and K.C. Reed, July, 1990 “Taking the side of bought and sold rape”, speech at National Coalition against Sexual Assault, Washington, D.C.)…

A Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography concluded that girls and women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average. (Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, 1985, Pornography and Prostitution in Canada 350)…

In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals. (Letter from Susan Kay Hunter, Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Jan 6, 1993, cited by Phyllis Chesler in “A Woman’s Right to Self-Defense: The Case of Aileen Carol Wuornos”, in Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness, 1994, Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine)…

Sweden’s Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn’t Anyone Tried This Before?
In 1999, after years of research and study, Sweden passed legislation that a) criminalizes the buying of sex, and b) decriminalizes the selling of sex…

Today, not only do the Swedish people continue to overwhelmingly support their country’s approach to prostitution (80% of people in favor according to national opinion polls), but the country’s police and prosecutors have also come around. They are now among the legislation’s staunchest supporters. Sweden’s law enforcement community has found that the prostitution legislation benefits them in dealing with all sex crimes, particularly in enabling them to virtually wipe out the element of organized crime that plagues other countries where prostitution has been legalized or regulated.

The Guardian, “Ending a trade in misery”
Not only have the Swedes decriminalised the selling of sex; the Swedish government has also made significant resources available to help women leave prostitution. Beside this radical legislation is a public education campaign to debunk the myths and lie
s about prostitution – for example, that it is a career choice, and an equal exchange between buyer and seller…