NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers held an emotional hearing Wednesday, calling on Village Voice Media to shut down the adult section of its classifieds website.
City Council members choked back tears as a girl named “Briana,” now 13, testified from behind a screen. She described her ordeal as a 12-year-old sex slave being advertised on Backpage by her friend’s brother.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa With More From The Hearing
“Backpage sent me at least 35 dates a night. I couldn’t stop working until he felt satisfied with the money,” she said.
The girl continued telling her story while re-living her pain and suffering.
“It was very painful for me because the dates that I’ve gotten on Backpage have been the most violent,” she said. “Guys would come in the morning, in the night, whenever they felt that they just wanted to have some of me.”
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ voice grew loud as the attorney for Village Voice Media testified that keeping the site up helped identify missing and exploited children.
“You’re making a profit off these pimps putting these girls on your website,” Ferreras said.
“Briana” was eventually able to escape the situation and is currently getting help from the Gateways Program of the Jewish Childcare Association.
The program is a specialized residential program for girls ages 12 to 16 who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
The Gateways Progam’s director even testified Wednesday that 75 percent of the young women in the program have been trafficked on Backpage.
Brooklyn DA Charles “Joe” Hynes also testified that 70 percent of his sex trafficking cases come from Backpage.
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