Reps. Maloney and Blackburn Join Efforts to Address Online Promotion of Human Trafficking

Apr 4, 2012 Issues: Human Trafficking, Women's Issues
Press Contact: 
Jon Houston (202) 225-7944

WASHINGTON - Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Carolyn Maloney yesterday sent a bipartisan letter to Google questioning how the company’s advertising practices addresses human trafficking.
 
Rep. Carolyn Maloney said: “As a leader in technology, I encourage Google also to lead in the fight against online human trafficking. Too many people believe that human trafficking is a problem only in foreign countries but online advertising has opened new markets for the estimated 100,000 children in the United States—most of whom are American citizens—exploited through commercial sex every year, with the average age of first exploitation between 12-13 years old. These are our daughters, their schoolmates, and their friends; everyone-- every company-- must understand the reality:  that sex trafficking is the slavery of the 21st century. I hope Google will look into its practices to make sure it does not contribute to web-based sex trafficking."  Rep. Maloney is co-chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, working to educate people about the reality of the trade in human lives and toward its elimination.   
 
Rep. Marsha Blackburn stated: “Illicit online advertising threatens more than just the freedom of the Internet -- it denies women and children their fundamental right to human dignity. I have no doubt that if Google was found to profit from online ads that promoted human trafficking, they would immediately stop the placement of those ads. Since Google has a unique ability to help thwart this modern-day form of human slavery, we are looking forward to learning how Google responds to various human rights critics on this issue and whether Google's advertising policies address the exploitation of vulnerable women and girls."

Text of the letter from Representatives Blackburn and Maloney, addressed to Google’s CEO, Larry Page, can be read here.
 
Last week, a group of anti-trafficking organizations called on the National Association of Attorneys General to investigate Google for profiting from the sale of online advertisements that contributes to human trafficking in a letter that can be seen here. Last month, 19 US Senators sent a letter to the Village Voice, owner of the controversial website Backpage.com, calling for them to stop using online advertising to promote child prostitution on their website.