Those of us who live in Chicago, which is wholly nestled in the great county of Cook in the oblong state of Illinois, have an amazing person working for us. Here’s Paul Krugman, this morning, in the New York Times:
Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Ill., wrote tough letters to Visa and MasterCard, calling on them to stop allowing their cards to pay for sex ads on Backpage. Both companies effectively agreed. To its great credit, American Express in April stopped working with Backpage for adult ads, so as of the beginning of July pimps had no easy way to pay for advertisements.
Flummoxed, Backpage responded by making its basic sex ads free, but, even with a fee to promote a free ad, that’s not a business model that can sustain it. Backpage is suing Sheriff Dart, but my sense is that pimps won’t be using their credit cards again on the site any time soon.
“If it’s down for six months, that’s six months of children who aren’t raped,” says Yiota Souras of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
So bravo to American Express, MasterCard and Visa — and to Sheriff Dart — for getting results where Congress failed.
That’s who I’m interested in hanging out with— public officials looking to make our lives better, writing letters to the financiers, getting sued by jagoffs, looking out for the most vulnerable. One-day-at-a-time work, for us. We really do have a gem among us— it’s good to stop a recognize it sometimes.