A Look Back at the Protests Against Tony Ortega and Backpage

It might be tempting for some to think that the deluge of justifiable outrage over the Backpage underage sex trafficking scandal is somehow a recent phenomenon. It is not.

For years voices of everyday citizens have clamored against the infamous crime syndicate and its lapdog, Tony Ortega. Even close to a decade ago, we knew and understood the seriousness of the crimes these scumbags were engaged in profiting from.

This video from one of the many protests clearly shows the public’s outrage that lead to the Congress finally stepping in to take action against the Backpage.

Indeed, it was during one of these protests that ultimately prompted Ortega to emerge from his hole to comment on the matter by pretending the Village Voice actually was not connected to Backpage and that he and his employees were in no way connected to Backpage.

As Ortega told a reporter from The Gawker:

“As for the protests today, I wish them the best of luck. No one who actually works in this office has anything to do with Backpage, but still, I understand why they picked our building.”

The enormity of this lie cannot be overstated. Of course they had everything to do with Backpage! That is precisely why Ortega was on the front lines defending it. His paycheck depended on the selling of innocent children and marginalized women. The Backpage, was the cash cow of the The Village Voice.

But let us remind our readers what Ortega wrote in defense, support of the Backpage crime syndicate:

“A small group of political activists is quite ready to provide the answer. In the second decade of the 21st century, we are being told that there’s a widespread, growing, and out-of-control problem to fear in our country. And it has a catchy name: “trafficking.”

“In cities across America, we are told over and over, like a mantra, that “100,000 to 300,000” underage sex slaves have been stashed away from public view, with more joining them every day. It’s a problem growing so quickly that the United States soon will be no better than Moldova or Nepal in regard to child sex trafficking. Why go to the third World looking for this nightmare when our cities and suburbs are bursting with children in bondage?

“The actual data behind this “epidemic” is wanting in the extreme. It involves guesses by activist professors, junk science by nonprofit groups trying to extract money from Congress, and manipulation by religious groups hiding their real agendas about sex work. And one of the most visible enablers in this national fantasy has been young CNN reporter Amber Lyon.

Seven years ago, the people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com, a competitor to Craigslist. While other newspapers were doing little more than publicly condemning Newmark for the way Craigslist has, for years, eaten into their classified ads revenue, we decided to fight back. That’s just how we operate.

“Backpage.com has since inherited some of the adult business that left Craigslist. The Village Voice itself has been taking such ads since the mid-1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, the adult business was a large part of the paper. Today, it’s a smaller presence in the print edition, and the Voice‘s website has no adult advertising—that business appears only at Backpage.com.

We’ve spent millions of dollars putting in place strict policies and monitoring services to make sure that it is only adults finding each other through Backpage.com‘s adult pages. Not only do we have security specialists making constant searches for keywords that might indicate an underage user, but we’re quick to cooperate with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when we find suspicious ads.

“Congress hauled in Craigslist on September 15, 2010. There, feminists, religious zealots, the well-intentioned, law enforcement, and social-service bureaucrats pilloried the online classified business for peddling “100,000 to 300,000” underage prostitutes annually. Those same numbers had already inspired terrified politicians, who let loose hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade to prohibitionists bent on ending the world’s oldest profession. The Craigslist beat-down was absurdist theater. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing on “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” culminated with the humbled attorneys from Craigslist announcing that they would close down their adult classified business. The First Amendment was shouted down in the name of children. Village Voice Media watched with more than passing interest. From its earliest days, the Village Voice has run adult classifieds. Today, those classifieds are hosted online at Backpage.com. Having run off Craigslist, reformers, the devout, and the government-funded have turned their guns upon Village Voice Media. Solicited by advocates, such websites as Huffington Post and The Daily Beast and others in the mainstream media raised the alarm that America’s children have been enslaved in prostitution, thanks to the Internet. It is true that Village Voice Media has a stake in this discussion. But the facts speak for themselves.”

Simply put, child sex trafficking was the only reason Tony Ortega had a job in the first place!

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