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| Columns |

Underage Sex Trafficking -- The Myths, The Meeting

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If you believe the Other Voices column published in the Miami Herald Sunday, Village Voice Media is a big bad monster. After all, we own Backpage.com, which is the "market leader in online sex ads." And those ads allegedly traffic millions of underage girls -- particularly this week, when the Super Bowl is taking place in Dallas.

Problem is, as former Cleveland Scene editor and my buddy Pete Kotz points out in a story that went up on our website today. The Super Bowl tie is a bunch of baloney.

Moreover, there are 18 safeguards that stop underage prostitutes from advertising -- or being advertised -- on Backpage. And as Jerry Markon of the Washington Post wrote back in 2007, the phenomenon of human trafficking is vastly overblown. It certainly exists -- just like teen prostitution --  but the numbers are nowhere near what opponents would have you think.

But hey, that ain't stopping the Women's Fund of Miami-Dade County and the Women's Funding Network from setting up a meeting tomorrow morning at the Riviera Theater in Coral Gables to protest our nefarious deeds. They want to bring together elected officials and others to pressure federal authoriies and others to stop this kind of advertising.

Just hope they do their research first.

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