During the course of my work on this week's human trafficking cover package, I was asked by a handful of people about the Independent's policy on adult-services ads. It's a legitimate question in light of the recent Craigslist controversy, as well as this week's news about a lawsuit against Village Voice Media by a minor who claims she was prostituted via the paper's online classifieds.
Two years ago, Indy management made an executive decision to stop running adult-services advertising in print. The paper does list massage services in a Body & Soul section, but any massage therapists who run with us must provide their state registration for our files. Any studio or spa owner who's not a practicing and licensed therapist must hand over a copy of his or her business license.
Further back in the print pages, readers will find the "Bulletin Board." Amid postings for "cash for cameras," Bible verses and paralegal services, you'll find numbers for chat lines, but no adult services that put people in direct physical contact with one another.
Of course, as I learned during my research, labor trafficking is more prevalent in Colorado than sex trafficking. But it's all chilling stuff. And despite the efforts of people from numerous areas of the professional landscape, it's all disconcertingly close to home.