It is true that some underage girls have been sexually exploited through Backpage. However, the council and critics of Backpage fail to explain how and why these girls are falling prey to those who exploit them.
These girls are runaways and vulnerable. They are enticed on the streets by criminals offering smooth talk, drugs and money.
If these girls were not in a compromised position to begin with, predators could not get their hooks into them, and Backpage would be irrelevant.
We can't just shut down a website because a few bad people are misusing it. If the girls were being exploited on a corner of Lake Street, would the council shut the street down?
If the girls were being advertised on the community bulletin board at a grocery store, would they force the store to remove the board?
With few exceptions, Backpage's users are responsible adults who are not victimizing minors. It's absurd and lazy to believe that shutting the site down will solve the problem.
The only real, permanent solution is to understand why these girls run away from home and stop it from happening.
KARL KLASSNER, LAKEVILLE
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.