No Happy Ending

Looking to get some young Russian love 24/7? Soon you may have to look further than the back pages of your favorite weekly. The adult services classifieds, long the back alley of regional pubs, are in for a scrubbing. New York magazine is the 15th publication to announce, under pressure from the local chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), that they will no longer be running sex industry ads. The now campaign is aimed at "ending newspapers and magazines' reliance on advertisement revenue from illegal massage parlors and brothels."

These ads, which NOW claims provide access to trafficked women, do more than give adolescent boys something to, ER, think about - they bring in a lot of revenue. Manhattan Media, owner of several community weeklies including the New York Press, has lost close to $1 million, according to CEO Tom Allon, as a result of their July decision to pull the ads from the Press. New York, with a weekly circulation of 429,000 (according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations), is one of the city's most widely read publications and the campaign's most public success. However, neither publication seems overly excited about the cause itself.

Serena Torrey, the spokesperson for New York, denies that the decision was a direct result of the NOW campaign, claiming that they had "been looking and working to eliminate this ad section for a number of years," and it was "just the right thing to do." The right thing was also rather timely, coming just one day before NOW had scheduled a protest outside the publication's offices. Allon also states that they came to the decision independently: "We have ethical and business concerns with these ads and decided not accepting them would be the wise course."

While NOW-NYC president Sonia Ossorio calls Allon a "trailblazer" and optimistically predicts that "the growth prospects for this newspaper will dramatically increase as it is remade into a reputable publication," Allon says they have not yet replaced the lost revenue.

But urban prowlers and perverts needn't worry: There is still one place where they can order up hot Asian girls and tranny hookers. A spokesperson for the Village Voice, New York's largest free weekly newspaper, says they "have no plans of pulling or changing our ads." Of course, if NOW succeeds in educating the public about how the ads contribute to human trafficking, the pages may soon be worthless anyway. Oh well, there's always that last refuge of the scoundrel, Craigslist.

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