The Backpage.com service—as we pointed out back in March—has been tied nationally to child prostitution.
On his blog, Burgess posted some damning numbers that indicate VVM's local paper, Seattle Weekly, may be tied to child prostitution as well. (Seattle's standout crime reporter, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, reported the same thing earlier this week at his blog Seattlecrime.com. Spangenthal-Lee has been all over the story.)
Burgess writes (bolds his):
Over the past three years, 18 criminal investigations, all resulting in criminal charges being filed in King County Superior Court, have produced evidence that Village Voice Media/Backpage.com has been used as a vehicle in the prostitution of children. Five of these cases have resulted in trial convictions. Seven resulted in plea convictions. Six are pending trial.
Over the past 13 months, YouthCare has engaged with 185 children—some referred to YouthCare by police and other organizations, others identified by YouthCare staff involved in outreach efforts—who acknowledged being commercially sexually exploited through prostitution. Of this total, 119 enrolled in a YouthCare program and 23 of these reported being prostituted through Village Voice Media/Backpage.com.
Mayor Mike McGinn, who has pulled all city advertising from Seattle Weekly to protest, is meeting with VVM this afternoon to discuss the issue.