Meranda Warborg was arrested this week. The 29-year-old Minneapolis woman was charged with prostituting two young girls, 15 and 17 years of age, who ran away from their homes in Eau Claire, Wiscconsin.
The girls told police that Warborg kept them drugged up with, variously, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and ecstasy. She also assigned them a bedroom where they provided sex for pay to dirty old men.
Police tracked down Warborg through a cell phone number accompanying an online advertisement she posted on Backpage.com – but of course – featuring her under-aged lingerie-clad call girls in suggestive poses.
Against that backdrop, the Minneapolis City Council yesterday approved a unanimous resolution demanding that Village Voice Media, owner of Backpage.com, stop accepting classified ads for “adult services,” which enable pimps (as well as online madams like Warborg) to traffic in under-age girls.
Breaking Free, a Twin Cities organization that helps victims of the sex trade, said that more than 80 girls under 18 years of age have sought the group’s help over the past year. And 40 percent of those poor young girls had been sold on Backpage.com.
The outrage is that Village Voice Media defends its complicity in juvenile sex trafficking by hiding behind the First Amendment, insisting that it has the right to publish any and every kind of advertising it sees fit.
“These ads may be distasteful,” said Liz McDougall, the company’s general counsel, but the adult services offered “are legal.”
Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin goes so far as to say that its advertising approach, with respect to Backpage.com, “is very libertarian.”
Well, I know more than a few libertarians. And some maintain that prostitution should be legal, as it amounts to a contract of sorts between consenting adults (a point of view with which this Christian disagrees).
But not even the most rock-robbed libertarians I know believe that juvenile prostitution should be legal; the kind of under-age sex trafficking that Backpage.com enables.
McDougall claims that her bosses at Village Voice Media, CEO Larkin and Executive Editor Michael Lacey, are “family men” who “want to stop the exploitation of children.”
Well, let them prove it. Get rid of the “adult services” section on Backpage.com and the dirty money that goes with it.