Village Voice Founder's Son Joins Groundswell Campaign
By Anonymous
January 12, 2012

Criticizes Company for Advertisements That Others Can Use for Sex Trafficking of Minors, Joins Groundswell Campaign
John Mailer, son of Norman Mailer, joins 80,000 supporters of campaign on Change.org to ban sex ads that may feature minors on Village Voice-owned Backpage.com

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2012 -- John Buffalo Mailer, the youngest son of late novelist and Village Voice co-founder Norman Mailer, has joined a campaign on Change.org calling on Village Voice Media to shut down the adult section of Backpage.com, where individuals have advertised children and teens for sex.

"The Village Voice was born out of the desire for an independent media voice for the people, a voice that had the freedom and authority to hold those who abuse power accountable for their actions," said John Buffalo Mailer. "While I understand firsthand the financial difficulties facing all print publications today, the fact of the matter is that Village Voice is making money from selling advertisements that others have used to buy and sell minors for sex."

"As my father's son, knowing all of the hopes and dreams that went into the work of creating this particular paper, the Village Voice appears to have lost its way from the days when Dan Wolfe, Ed Fancher, and my father began it," Mailer continued. "For the sake of the Village Voice brand and for the sake of the legacy of a great publication, take down the adult section of Backpage.com, before the Village Voice must answer for yet another child who is abused and exploited because you did not do enough to prevent it."

Mailer has joined more than 80,000 people in joining a petition campaign on Change.org started by multifaith social action initiative Groundswell demanding Village Voice Media stop accepting ads on Backpage.com that can result in child sex trafficking. Groundswell's efforts are supported by nearly 500 faith leaders across the nation.

"I applaud John Buffalo Mailer for speaking out on this critical issue," said the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary and convener of the clergy coalition asking Village Voice Media to shut down Backpage.com's adult section. "The drumbeat demanding action from Village Voice is getting louder everyday. Village Voice, please hear our plea for action. Despite the safeguards and security procedures you have put in place, others continue to advertise children and minors for commercial sex on your Web site. This needs to stop. It is time that you reversed course and shut down Backpage.com's adult section."

"John Buffalo Mailer's participation in Groundswell's campaign on Change.org demonstrates his strong support for Groundswell's efforts," said Amanda Kloer, Director of Organizing for Change.org. "Change.org is about providing individuals with the tools to create social change, and it's been incredible to see Mr. Mailer and Groundswell take advantage of those tools to prevent the trafficking of minors."

Mailer's appeal to Village Voice Media follows demands to shut down the adult section of Backpage.com by 51 of the nation's attorneys general, who called Backpage.com a "hub" for human trafficking, and by 53 anti-trafficking experts and organizations that contend that Village Voice's efforts to prevent trafficking via its Web site "fall far short of what is needed to eliminate the use of [Backpage.com] by others to exploit women and minors."

Live signature totals from Groundswell coalition's campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-village-voice-media-to-stop-child-sex-trafficking-on-backpagecom

Link to additional Groundswell campaign information
Link to letter signed by 53 anti-trafficking organizations and experts
Link to letter signed by 51 Attorneys General

For more information about Groundswell, please visit: www.groundswell-movement.org.
Groundswell is the social action initiative of Auburn Seminary.

For more information on Change.org, please visit: http://www.change.org/about.
Change.org is the world's fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 500,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

To schedule an interview with clergy representatives contact: Claudia Gunter, Groundswell, cgunter@auburnseminary.org, +1 (212) 870-3174

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Tags: groundswell, Katharine Henderson, sex trafficking

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