Backpage.com, a classifieds site owned by Village Voice Media, is the top site for online prostitution ads. Unfortunately the site has inadvertently created the U.S.'s largest marketplace for the sex trafficking of underage girls. Until last week, Goldman Sachs held a 16% stake in Village Voice Media -- a $30 million investment!
While Goldman Sachs has recently divested itself of its stake in the company, investors ought to bear some responsibility for the actions and events made possible by their investment. In this case, millions of dollars of Goldman Sachs's money supported a system where women, and in many cases, young girls, were forced into prostitution, abuse and dehumanizing practices.
Goldman Sachs has set an example for corporate social responsibility -- investing in the education and empowerment of women through their 10,000 Women initiative. Goldman Sach's website states that "Investing in women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth." For this reason, we are calling upon Goldman Sachs to take responsibility for the horrible human rights abuses facilitated by their investment and donate $1 million to the nonprofit CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking) to rehabilitate victims of all forms of trafficking and help them get their lives back. CAST is a nationally and internationally recognized nonprofit that provides social and legal services and advocacy for survivors healing from the unspeakable violence they enduring during slavery.