Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Our Saviour’s to Village Voice: Stop child sex trafficking!

On September 4, the church council of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church (ELCA), Minneapolis, passed a resolution asking Village Voice Media to shut down the “Adult” section of Backpage.com in order to thwart the sex trafficking of children through that website.

Earlier this year, the Ramsey County Board, the St. Paul City Council, and the Minneapolis City Council all passed similar resolutions. Since 2011, state Attorneys General, anti-trafficking NGO’s, religious leaders, and online petitions have pushed for this action by Village Voice.

According to the Minneapolis Police Department, all 20 cases of child sex trafficking investigated so far this year involved juveniles advertised on Backpage.

“It takes a village to prevent child sex trafficking. We are asking Village Voice to be a responsible partner for the good of our community.”


Bill Rowe, Our Saviour’s council secretary, stated, “When I was in college, the Village Voice weekly was a valuable alternative source of news. I was shocked to hear that it made so much money from adult sex ads that are involved in child sex trafficking. I researched advertising our church in City Pages, but discontinued after finding that Village Voice owned it.”

“This is absolutely an instance of a business valuing profits over the well-being of children,” declared Pastor Laurie Eaton. “It takes a village to prevent child sex trafficking. We are asking Village Voice to be a responsible partner for the good of our community.”

“Our Saviour’s has always seen itself called to live out its mission in the larger community,” added Jim Unglaube, council president. “The matter of child sexual exploitation obviously is rampant in our society and, more specifically, right here where we live. It is important for the church’s voice to be heard.”

“We are pleased that Our Saviour’s is the first congregation on board with our campaign to address this problem,” said Amy Hartman, National Director of Cherish Our Children, who presented the resolution to the Council. “Together, we encourage other congregations to take similar action.”

For more information, contact Jim Unglaube at 262/945-3024 or junglaube@carthage.edu For resources to get involved in this campaign, go to www.cherishchildren.org.

Update

Since this article first appeared, two additional congregations passed a resolution: Valley of Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA), Golden Valley, Minnesota, on September 18, 2012, and Faith-Lilac Way Lutheran Church (ELCA), Robbinsdale, Minnesota, on September 20, 2012. In addition, Central Lutheran Church (ELCA), Minneapolis, on September 19, 2012, announced, “Central will do no more advertising with City Pages,” according to David Alexander, Central business administrator.

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