Goldman Sachs A Shareholder In Company Tied To Sex Trafficking
Dallas residents can probably agree that Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank, does not need any more bad press. The firm is already dealing with a bad reputation due to its questionable ethics. And Americans are generally unhappy with Wall Street.
A new report alleging that the firm is a minority shareholder in a company involved with the sex crimes of online advertising of child sex trafficking is not going to help their reputation. The company is Village Voice Media, whose Backpage section is linked to rumors of encouraging underage prostitution and sex slavery. Village Voice Media also owns the famous Village Voice newspaper.
An investigation revealed that Village Voice Media is owned by private financers, one of which is Goldman Sachs. The private ownership largely shields the company from public scrutiny. However, the report may change things.
Goldman Sachs owns 16 percent of Village Voice Media and has been frantically trying to get rid of its shares since learning of the investigation and a protest outside the Village Voice Media offices.
The author of the report calls Backpage the biggest forum for sex trafficking of underage girls in the United States. The company advertising is likely growing because of clients coming from Craigslists (now closed) adult services section.
Goldman executives say they are uncomfortable with the firm's part ownership of the company. But until the release of the new report, the uncomfortable feeling never translated into action. A Goldman director also sits on the board of Backpages parent company but apparently makes no efforts to confirm the age and consent of people appearing in advertisements.
An attorney for Village Voice Media says the company will not shut down its adult section. She states that doing this will hinder law enforcement officials from prosecuting people involved in illegal activities. She also argues that removing adult content from one place will only make people seek it elsewhere.