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Not so long ago, though, adult print ads were also being targeted -- on the grounds that they promoted illegal activity, including trafficking.
Just a few years ago, activists managed to convince publications like New York magazine and the Washington Post to cut out massage parlor ads -- but not the Village Voice.
The Village Voice and its kin may have turned down the heat by severing their relationship with Backpage, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely clear of controversy.
Andrea Powell, executive director of the anti-trafficking organization FAIR Girls, which spearheaded a campaign to shut down Backpage.com, told me, “Our efforts are really focusing exclusively on Backpage.com,” she says.
“I believe that researching those online ads is much more arduous; it’s a much easier place for victims to be hid by their traffickers than in a print ad.
But the print ads are obviously a concern and something we do look at.” She adds, "It is clear their recent split from Village Voice Media is a smoke and mirrors campaign." That the remaining print ads have largely gone unremarked upon amid the highly covered split shows just how dramatically the online marketplace has grown.
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