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Keys tourism panel pulls ads due to sex classifieds

Key West, FL|Sex-Trafficking|Add Comment
By: SEAN KINNEY, Keysnet.com

To avoid any association with possible sex trafficking, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, which promotes the Keys as a travel destination, pulled advertisements effective May 16 from the Miami New Times.

Harold Wheeler, executive director of the TDC, says New Times parent company Village Voice Media, through its websites, links to online classified ads for prostitution services.

"I nor Tinsely Advertising were aware of this site, or actually even the issue, until I was notified by both [Key West] Mayor Craig Cates and [Monroe County] Mayor David Rice."

"I immediately looked into the matter and quickly realized the right thing to do was cancel our ads," Wheeler says, adding prostitution "obviously could lead to human sex trafficking and, my guess, not only damage to women but possibly to children, too."

Wheeler says the $7,000 ad buy placed by the TDC promoted cultural events in the Florida Keys and had been redirected to the same market via publication in Miami Herald weekend editions.

Wheeler noted that there were no print ads for prostitution appearing in New Times; they're only on the website. Still, "I just don't think we need to be supporting companies like that."

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