Call to Action: Ask the Valley Advocate’s New Owner to Drop the Sex Ads

Today’s Gazette reports that its parent company, Newspapers of New England, is acquiring the Valley Advocate. Now is a good time to ask NNE to start on the right foot and drop the Advocate’s sex ads. Here is a sample letter:

Mr. Tom Brown
President and CEO
Newspapers of New England, Inc.
One Monitor Drive
Concord, NH 03302

Dear Mr. Brown:

Congratulations on your recent purchase of the Valley Advocate. I hope you will take this opportunity to free the Advocate of the ads for escort services and adult enterprises that compromise its progressive mission. New York Press took a similar step this summer after being acquired by Manhattan Media.

Many of the escort ads in the Advocate appear to be blatant come-ons for prostitution. The life of these escorts is miserable. As reported on, “In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.” A great deal of research demonstrates that the adult industry exploits women, perpetuates sex trafficking, harms communities and trains abusers. I believe that facilitating these businesses is incompatible with the Advocate’s values.

In New York City, the National Organization for Women has persuaded over a dozen publications to refuse sex ads. I hope you will follow suit.


[Your name]

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…”

Another Victory for NOW-NYC: New York Magazine Drops Sex Ads
[International Herald Tribune:] 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…

[New York Sun:] “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.

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). Most of these 13 or 14 year old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Others were “traditional wives” without job skills who escaped from or were abandoned by abusive husbands and went into prostitution to support themselves and their children. (Denise Gamache and Evelina Giobbe, Prostitution: Oppression Disguised as Liberation, National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 1990)

Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. The Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, Oregon Annual Report in 1991 stated that: 85% of prostitute/clients reported history of sexual abuse in childhood; 70% reported incest…

studies report 68% to 70% of women in prostitution being raped…

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…

In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals…

67% of 475 people in prostitution from South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Zambia met diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 92% stated that they wanted to leave prostitution…

Ask the Valley Advocate to stop profiting from the sexual exploitation of women

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

S.M. Berg: Hey, progressives! Cathouse got your tongue?
Every week millions across the U.S. read a hundred alternative weeklies and the majority have entire sections dedicated to the prostitution industry in them. Yet I have never seen one well-known feminist writer discuss, question, or look into this phenomenon as a feminist journalist might be expected to do…

Until more feminists can defy men who profit monetarily or emotionally from renting women’s reproductive organs, significant advancements in women’s rights can’t happen.

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…

“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…

Strip Clubs Are the Next Hot Thing on Wall Street, Fund Manager Tells Barron’s
From NPN’s letter as p
ublished in Barron’s:

…These clubs are like wrecking balls to marriages and communities. The dancers work under abusive conditions. Drugs, disease and prostitution are prevalent, and the realities of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe are not to be taken lightly. It’s no wonder that alert communities use zoning to keep these enterprises away from homes.

Responsible investors need to ask themselves if this is really a business they want to be in.