36-year-old Mickey Cupkie of Elko, Minnesota was recently arrested for allegedly paying to have sex with two minor girls that were advertised on the Village Voice Media-owned backpage.com.
The girls were 16 and 17-year-old runaways. The girls were being investigated by Minneapolis police as victims of sex trafficking and they were able to determine that Cupkie was one of their customers. Police say that he admitted to knowing that the girls were “too young to be engaging in prostitution.” Apparently, that didn’t stop him from getting his money’s worth.
This story brings up a few points. First the obvious ones. Backpage’s supposed screening process to keep kids off of their site is obviously not working no matter how much Liz McDougall wants you to think it is. Secondly, let’s call this crime what it is, paid child rape. When you use a child prostitute you’re basically paying to rape them. Lastly, we don’t see nearly enough stories about the johns who are raping these girls. Not only do they need to be named and shamed they need to be given stiff sentences with real jail time. Only when you make the risk not worth the reward will you be able to put a good-sized dent in child sex trafficking.
UPDATE 9/3/2012: Cupkie has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in November.