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January 6, 2012

Mayor Ann Schwab PO Box 3420, Chico, CA 95927.

Re: Village Voice Media Publication in Chico’s Facilitation of Sex Trafficking Dear Schwab, Experts estimate that at least 100,000 children are bought and sold for sex in our country in cities across the nation, cities like Chico, California. Village Voice Media has generated an estimated $23.9 million this year from the Adult section of its website Backpage.com, a platform where trafficked women 8and children become a commodity. We invite you to join our efforts encouraging Village Voice Media to protect our nation’s children and to stop illegal forms of commercial sex advertisements on Backpage.com. It is well known that online classifieds sites like Backpage.com provide an anonymous and easily accessible platform for predators to purchase sex online. These types of online sex ads are not only illegal, but increase the risk for vulnerable children to be easily exploited through sex trafficking. Fifty-one Attorneys General have called on Village Voice Media to shut down Backpage.com’s Adult section and clearly explain its methodology for “screening” ads. Fifty-three anti-trafficking experts and organizations across the nation advocating on behalf of trafficked women and children have asked Village Voice Media to remove Backpage.com’s Adult section. Thirty-six faith leaders from multiple denominations presented a joint letter to Village Voice Media imploring the company to take down the Adult section of Backpage.com. Law enforcement, and finally the child victims of sex trafficking that have been bought and sold on Backpage.com have asked Village Voice Media to shut down the section. With no acknowledgement of these children’s suffering, the Adult section has remained up. The mother of one victim writes: "Village Voice Media owns and operates a company that openly supplies children to those who wish to cause them nothing but harm, and I am sure of it because my daughter was a victim of its greed. Backpage.com advertises and sells children for a few measly dollars with the intent that with enough sales, Village Voice Media will make millions while countless numbers of innocent lives are irreparably damaged. No help is offered for the lives they have destroyed. Common decency should prevail but since they are clearly lacking in the decency department, I pray the eyes of our countries leaders open to see their sickness and put an end to their greed."

______________________________________________________________________ Shared Hope International | 1501 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22209 | www.SharedHope.org

Village Voice Media publishes thirteen weeklies across the country, and many more weeklies utilize Village Voice to run their advertising and classifieds section. Chico News & Review, a publication that utilizes Village Voice Media to post classifieds and advertisements, is distributed in your city. Earlier this year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, took a stand on behalf of the city against Backpage.com’s inaction by calling on Village Voice Media to come to the table to discuss their policies to halt this facilitation. In addition, he announced that the city of Seattle would no longer advertise in Village Voice Media publications until the company prevents sex trafficking from occurring on Backpage.com. We ask that you join Mayor McGinn in letting Village Voice Media know that the city of Chico will not support a publication that allows this crime to occur on its pages. Attached is a proposed letter for your consideration to communicate to Village Voice Media that your city will not tolerate their inaction and requests that Village Voice come to the table to discuss their plan of preventive action. It our vision that by mayors from every city with a publication that earns revenue for Village Voice Media will send the resounding message that commercial sexual exploitation will not be tolerated. Sincerely, Linda Smith (U.S. Congress 1995-99, Washington State Senate/House 1983-94) Founder and President Shared Hope International Linda Caswell Founder All Things New Inc. Kaffie McCullough Campaign Director A Future. Not A Past.

Vednita Carter Founder and Executive Director Breaking Free

Tina Frundt Executive Director/Founder Courtney's House Andrea Powell Executive Director & Co-Founder FAIR Girls

Carol Smolenski Executive Director ECPAT-USA Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. President Frederick Douglass Family Foundation

Amb. Mark P. Lagon MSFS International Relations Chair Georgetown University Former U.S. Ambassador at Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Stephanie Davis Executive Director Georgia Women for a Change, Inc.

______________________________________________________________________ Shared Hope International | 1501 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22209 | www.SharedHope.org

U.S. Department of State

Sharon-Simpson Joseph Executive Director Juvenile Justice Fund Stephanie Holt Founder and Executive Director Mission 21 Brad Myles Executive Director Polaris Project Kristy Childs Executive Director Veronica’s Voice

Trudy Novicki Executive Director Kristi House Emily Fitchpatrick Founder and President On Eagles Wings Ministries/The Hope House Marlene Carson Founder Rehab Hideaway Lee Roper-Batker President and CEO Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

______________________________________________________________________ Shared Hope International | 1501 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22209 | www.SharedHope.org