The No. 1 American website for sex trafficking of underage girls is Backpage.com. And Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, which is 16% owned by ... Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street firm "was mortified when I began inquiring last week about its stake in America’s leading Web site for prostitution ads," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. "It began working frantically to unload its shares" and finally signed a deal to do so Friday. But how could the company have been so ignorant?
Kristof lists a few high-profile stories about Backpage.com, including the rape of a 15-year-old girl and a letter from 19 US senators asking the company to stop abetting traffickers. "There’s no indication that Goldman or anyone else ever used its ownership to urge Village Voice Media to drop escort ads or verify ages," writes Kristof, who eventually turns his ire to sex traffickers themselves: "Closing down the leading Web site used by traffickers would complicate their lives, and after so many years of girls being trafficked on this site, it’s time to hold owners accountable." Click for the full column. (Read more Nicholas Kristof stories.)