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The Fight to End Child Sex Trafficking





As President Obama has said, it’s time to call human trafficking what it really is – modern day slavery. Every year, up to 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked for sex in the United States.

Did You Know?

  • On average, children are first sold into sexual slavery before their 13th birthday.
  • 80% of victims are women and girls.
  • Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion per year worldwide.
  • The Internet is the #1 platform in the U.S. for advertising prostitution.
  • Backpage.com, a website owned and operated by Village Voice Media, is the leading website for advertising prostitution in the United States, generating more than 70% of prostitution-advertising revenue on the web.
  • Websites that facilitate sex trafficking, such as Backpage.com, can generate over $30 million per year.

Because of our state's central location, traffickers use our transportation infrastructure, including O'Hare International Airport, to bring young women into Illinois to exploit them or transport them elsewhere. It is long overdue that we exhaust every means possible to ensure exploited girls are viewed not as criminals but rather as victims. Ultimately, it is our obligation to end modern day slavery.


Just the Facts

16,000+ The number of women in the metropolitan Chicago area that are involved in sex trade annually
Source: Trafficking in Persons in Illinois Fact Sheet/University of Illinois Chicago
62% The percentage of sex trafficked women in the metropolitan Chicago area who got involved in the sex trade by the age of 18
Source: Trafficking in Persons in Illinois Fact Sheet/University of Illinois Chicago
40% The percentage of human trafficking cases that involved the sexual exploitation of children
Source: U.S. Justice Department
$150,000+ The amount a pimp can make in a year through sex trafficking one child
Source: U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
4-6 The average number of girls exploited by one pimp
Source: U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
30% The percentage of teens on the street who are lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home
Source: National Runaway Hotline/The Covering House
83% The percentage of domestic sex trafficking victims who are United States citizens
Source: U.S. Justice Department

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Illinois was the first state in the nation to ratify the 13th amendment that abolished slavery – it makes sense for Illinois to lead the nation in a bipartisan effort to end human trafficking. We can start by putting an end to sex ads that depict minors on websites like Backpage.com. I am devoted to leading the effort to help end child sex trafficking on the Internet. Browse the timeline below to learn more about my work:

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  • Village Voice Media
  • Child Sex Trafficking
  • Justice for Victims
  • Stop Exploitation

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Letter from the National Association of Attorneys General
In September, 2011, 51 Attorneys General sent a letter about Backpage.com's facilitation of the sexual exploitation of children, and prostitution.
Read the full letter.

Speech to the National Association of Attorneys General
On March 6, 2011, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), gave a speech about Backpage.com to his fellow attorneys general at NAAG’s spring meeting.
Read the transcript of the speech.

An Open Letter to Village Voice Media
On December 2, 2011, 55 leaders in the anti-human trafficking field published an open letter to Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin and the Village Voice Media Board of Directors calling on them to shut down the Adult section on Backpage.com.
Read the full letter.

Petition against Backpage.com
A petition hosted on Change.org has approximately 250,000 signatures "demanding that Village Voice Media - Backpage.com's parent company - stop selling ads that others use to sell minors on Backpage.com by shutting down the Adult section of the website."
See the petition.

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The story of Backpage.com has been featured by multiple news outlets including The New York Times, Reuters, Roll Call, The Hill, CNN and ABC.  On Jul7 27, 2012, three Washington teens filed a lawsuit alleging Backpage.com enabled their sexual exploitation.   See below for just a few of the stories:


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