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Homeless Youth Network Ditches 'Strip2Clothe' Campaign

Homeless Youth Network Ditches 'Strip2Clothe' Campaign

A national organization for homeless youth has agreed to cut ties with an edgy Web campaign that encourages participants to post striptease videos of themselves to raise clothing for young people on the streets after member charities protested that it sent the wrong message.

In a statement released to members Tuesday, the National Network For Youth (NN4Y) said it would decline to officially partner with Virgin Mobile's Strip2Clothe campaign, in which young people were asked to post videos of themselves stripping to music.

In exchange, clothing companies would donate new clothes based on the number of times the videos were viewed.

After NN4Y began testing the campaign last week, some members of the 150 charities represented by NN4Y protested, saying the effort was highly inappropriate in light of the common sexual exploitation of homeless youth.

"The campaign came with a lot of controversy, and we were supportive in Virgin Mobile's effort to raise awareness for homeless youth," said Vicki Wagner, CEO of NN4Y. "At the same time, we have to be sensitive to the needs of our members."

Those groups cheered the decision to cut ties with the website, which will continue under Virgin Mobile.

"We applaud their decision to disassociate themselves from the campaign," said Rebecca Lentz, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, which runs the Hope Street shelter in Minneapolis for young people ages 16 to 21. "The campaign ... exploits sex to help a population that is frequently exploited by sex to meet their basic needs of food and shelter."

NN4Y said organizations still wishing to receive clothing donations may do so directly through Virgin Mobile.

A call to Virgin Mobile was not returned.

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