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Defenders of Backpage and Craigslist say those sites gave workers control over their jobs and allowed people to detect and report traffickers. When Calida worked on the streets in her 20s, she said, she would face abuse from clients and police. Some men would demand sex without condoms, cross her boundaries, refuse to pay, or physically hurt her, said Calida, who asked to be quoted under the name she uses for online writing and activism.
She said passersby had thrown garbage at her. Kristen DiAngelo, executive director of the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Sacramento, said her phone had been ringing off the hook since the seizure of Backpage: One woman told her she was forced to return to an abusive client due to the lost income, she said.
DiAngelo said she also feared the crackdowns could extend to organizations like hers that focus on harm reduction initiatives, such as handing out condoms. Could prosecutors accuse her of facilitating prostitution? Kit, who is in her late 20s and works as an escort, said that she chooses to do sex work because it has provided sustainable income. Under the law, however, she could be treated as a trafficking victim, even though she said she was not being coerced: Jackie Monroe, a year-old California woman, said she was previously a victim of trafficking and was forced to do sex work.
She noted that law enforcement never helped her when she was a victim, instead charging her with prostitution and loitering offenses. Even before the measures passed into law, their effects were apparent. The market for sex was one of the first to move online. Before, sex work mostly consisted of street walkers, often controlled by pimps, and higher-end escorts who typically worked with agencies.
The middle men were necessary to find and screen clients. Sex workers gave up control of their lives, and their earnings, for regular access to customers and some modicum of safety. One-third of all sex-worker homicides are due to murder by serial killers pdf. At the same time, pimps were also a regular source of violence. Starting in the late s, sex workers struck out on their own and advertised on different websites like Craigslist.
Soon, specialized websites sprung up to serve different segments of the market: Craigslist personals and Backpage on the lower end, and sites like Eros on the higher end. Providers no longer needed to rely on middle men to find clients because they could advertise directly to them.
Sex workers could also screen clients before they met them to ensure they were not violent or police or both. Sex workers developed a referral network, including message boards to warn each other about dangerous clients. They were able to verify customer identity by calling their employers and asking for forms of ID. Meanwhile, customers reduced their risk by posting detailed reviews on sites like the Erotic Review. This mutual screening made sex worker safer. More money, independence, and safety attracted more sex workers into the market.
Yet even as supply and transparency increased, the price for sex also increased. This is because more high-end escorts entered the market, and escorts use the websites to compare pricing information. The sites were able to host ads for illegal sex work because Section of the Communications Decency Act does not hold them accountable for the free speech of their users. The purpose of the bill was to reduce sex trafficking following a two-year Senate investigation into Backpage.
The investigation found BackPage knowingly aided sex trafficking of women and girls.For a period of a few days there at least we were, kind of, like trying to figure out where all the postings went, so where all our potential victims went. Donald Trump is expected to sign the law this week, but sex workers across the country told the Guardian they were already suffering consequences. This may come back to haunt Eros users. So, when we had Backpage, or had access to Backpage, every girl in Maryland was pretty much posting on Backpage. Prostitution Sex trade features. Kit, who is in her late 20s and works as an escort, said that she chooses to do sex work because it has provided sustainable income. One woman told her she was forced to return to an abusive client due to the lost income, she backpage girls looking for sex.