COMMENTARY | Sex sells. Sex is routinely sold on the Internet, as the number of web sex sites proliferate, providing greater opportunity for predation.
Because press freedom is protected by the First Amendment, the online exploitation of children in illegal sex trafficking also continues.
As spiders catch flies, the sex web is always waiting to capture vulnerable kids who have run out of money and luck. The Washington Post in 2010 related the grim tale of child victims of online prostitution.
Police in Utica, N.Y., weren’t looking the other way last week in the case of sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old runaway girl. They arrested nine people in an alleged sex trafficking ring in the upstate New York area, some for trafficking, and others for a variety of related offenses.
According to CNY Central, the 16-year-old runaway had ended up in the “care” of the wrong people. After being bartered into prostitution in exchange for room and board, the unidentified victim was sold to Lynette and Edward Tilden, a brother and sister team suspected of sex trafficking in several states.
If past is prologue, outrage will fade and business as usual will take its place. In our permissive society, too many people seem to be brimming with liberal tolerance, even when the underlying facts are sordid and ugly.
CNY Central’s Jacquie Adams writes that the Backpages.com site was the venue through which the Tildens allegedly sold child sex services.
The usual response from sales and exchange web sites is “But we are not responsible for the activities of our customers!”
Perhaps the only way to stop web sites from participating in child sex predation is to sue for damages. If you could “sue a ham sandwich,” as the saying goes, you can surely sue a web site that popularizes child sex exploitation.
If federal authority and power can be used to sue American states, as reported by USA Today, for trying to enforce immigration policy, it might better use its vast financial resources to file federal class action lawsuits against Craigslist, BackPages, and other sites that indirectly serve the exploitation of children.
Whether such lawsuits would succeed in court or not, the weight of publicity, and the cost of defending against lawsuits might alone be enough to save some children from sexual predation.
Anthony Ventre is a freelance writer who has written for newspapers and online publications. He is a Yahoo! contributor in news, commentary, and financial writing.