Ars Technica: “Ex-child prostitute sues Village Voice over sex ads”

Ars Technica reports today:

Ex-child prostitute sues Village Voice over sex ads

A teenage child trafficking victim has filed a lawsuit against Village Voice Media, for knowingly allowing her pimp to post ads for her “services” on the popular The pimp, Latasha Jewell McFarland, has already pleaded guilty to prostitution charges, but the victim (going by M.A. in the complaint, as she is still a minor) says that Village Voice knew that the photos being posted of her were illegal but “failed to investigate for fear of what it would learn.”

…”Defendant had a strong suspicion that the aforementioned crimes were being committed,” reads the complaint. “Defendant had a desire that these posters accomplished their nefarious illegal prostitution activities so that the posters would return to the website and pay for more posting.”

Click for the full article

Click to download the text of the legal complaint, filed on 9/16/10 (PDF, 3MB) 

See also:

Los Angeles Times: “Craigslist says it won’t resume adult services advertising” (9/16/10)
Craigslist has no plans to bring back the controversial adult services category that was on its classified advertising website, a company official told Congress on Wednesday…

In the last six months, there has been a steep increase in the number of U.S. adolescent girls advertised for commercial sex on the Internet, [Deborah Richardson, chief program officer for the Women’s Funding Network] said. Linda Smith, a former congresswoman who now heads the nonprofit Shared Hope group that provides rehabilitation for women and children involved in sex trafficking, said, “I have not had a girl that wasn’t marketed online, and most of them were on Craigslist.”

At least 100,000 children in the United States are involved in commercial sex every year and the average age at which girls enter prostitution is 13, Smith said.

CNN: “Adult services censored on Craigslist” (9/5/10)

The Rebecca Project: “Dear Craig” (6/4/10)
Craig, I am MC. I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28 year-old man. I am not an exception. The man who trafficked me sold many girls my age, his house was called “Daddy Day Care”. All day, me and other girls sat with our laptops, posting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist, he made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, Little Rock–and one trip to Las Vegas in the trunk of a car.

News Roundup: Age of Entry into Prostitution Declining  

Ads from the June 12, 2008 Valley Advocate:

“Consenting Adults” proclaims one of the ads above. An odd phrase to apply to a legitimate massage service, but perfectly understandable for a commercial sex business. Smokescreen phrases like these are often employed by defenders of prostitution in attempts to stifle debate. They are not convincing. Studies that show a majority of prostituted women want out, and claims that only “adults” are involved are ever more questionable. S.M. Berg has kindly granted us permission to reprint the following from the anti-pornstitution website,

[U.S. News and World Report, 10/24/05, emphasis added:] On the “strolls” of Sunset Boulevard and Figueroa, in South-Central Los Angeles, girls step out from the shadows in tiny skirts and stiletto heels. Detective Keith Haight sizes them up. He doesn’t bother stopping unless they look underage, but it’s hard to tell nowadays. Haight has been working these streets for 25 years and has seen the girls getting younger. This drop in age is due both to the rise of the Internet, which provides ready access to child pornography, and to the fear of HIV/AIDS. “Back then, if you found a 15- or 16-year-old, that was a big deal. But now, they’re 11 or 12,” he says.

New York Times: “The Girls Next Door”; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn
If anything, the women I talked to said that the sex in the U.S. is even rougher than what the girls face on Calle Santo Tomas. Rosario, a woman I met in Mexico City, who had been trafficked to New York and held captive for a number of years, said: ”In America we had ‘special jobs.’ Oral sex, anal sex, often with many men. Sex is now more adventurous, harder.” She said that she believed younger foreign girls were in demand in the U.S. because of an increased appetite for more aggressive, dangerous sex. Traffickers need younger and younger girls, she suggested, simply because they are more pliable. In Eastern Europe, too, the typical age of sex-trafficking victims is plummeting; according to Matei of Reaching Out, while most girls used to be in their late teens and 20’s, 13-year-olds are now far from unusual.

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that between 100,000 and 3 million American kids under age 18 are involved in prostitution and they’re often targeted by sexual predators…

“What you see in the movies, what you see on TV — it’s not like that,” Sara says. “They don’t tell you the part about the rapes. They don’t tell you about getting beat up. They don’t tell you that you might die every day.”

…an estimated 80 to 95 percent of child prostitutes have a history of sexual abuse…

Salon: Atlanta’s underage sex trade

Escort Prostitution: A Response to Tom Vannah, Editor of the Valley Advocate (3/10/08)

MSNBC Investigates Human Trafficking and Prostitution in the US; Valley Advocate Advertises “Foreign Fantasies” Where “Everything Goes”

Diane Sawyer Special Examines Prostitution in America; Challenge the Valley Advocate “Rat King”

Letter to Gazette: “Urges Valley Advocate to stop running escort ads”(11/7/09)

Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations

The Village Voice Earns $80,000/Month from Prostitution, Sex Trafficking and other Adult Ads (explicit language)
[Manny, a former pimp,] says it’s not difficult for a pimp to recruit his harem.

“You don’t have to tie a girl up — you just keep her high.”

…The Phoenix New Times is a Village Voice Media property. According to the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, the adult ads on the back pages of The Village Voice alone generate $80,000 per month in revenue (PDF). Let’s follow the Phoenix New Times’ link to (explicit text and pictures) and see what VVM is selling this week in New York City…

All in all, there are over 5,000 ads in the adult category, and that’s just for the New York metro. If pimping on a grand scale is what it takes to keep Village Voice Media in business, this “progressive” conglomerate has outlived its usefulness. Let VVM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Larkin know how you feel.

Another Victory for NOW-NYC: New York Magazine Drops Sex Ads
One would think that this would be exactly the kind of exploitation the [Village] 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.