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The Backpage indictment included the horrific tales of a dozen women and five underage girls who had been sold for sex by violent pimps or brutalized by johns. But Sarah tells a different story about the business transacted on the website — that of a single mom who has led a largely stable, comfortable suburban life with money she earns by having sex.

Around , Sarah started out working for an escort service that was supposed to screen clients for safety — an arrangement she considered safer than walking the streets. On one of her early bookings, she arrived at a house to find not one man waiting for her but three, who chased her to her car when she balked at going into the house, she says.

Backpage launched as an online classified ads site — charging only to post ads in the various sections that, prosecutors say, were more or less explicitly selling sex — and Sarah says it was a massive improvement.

A single ad might net her queries from prospective clients, allowing her to be selective. The site also allowed her to contact clients initially without having to provide any of her personal contact information. Additional websites sprang up, creating online communities where workers could blacklist customers deemed dangerous. Many sex workers migrated onto more elaborate websites with detailed listings.

A search for a few common euphemisms like escort or even backpage on Twitter will show that even mainstream social media websites now are platforms for sex-industry marketing. Not every person posting ads on Backpage was charging hundreds of dollars an hour for their services, and as federal indictments and advocacy groups have pointed out, the far more sordid side of the sex trade took advantage of technology as well, concedes Alexandra Levy, a Notre Dame University law school professor who supports decriminalization of sex work.

Jessica, a graduate student at a Chicago university who was a sex-trafficking victim in her early teens, said she doubts changes to the law or even the shutdown of sites like Backpage will do little to stop the ugliest aspects of the sex trade.

Homeless, she wound up turning to a year-old friend of an ex-boyfriend for help. The man offered to introduce her to his friends who would pay her for sex, an arrangement that lasted for a few perilous months. I had to listen to men talking about how to kill me and hide my body. 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.

. A ring of creepy men have been working together sex female escorts backpage lure models with fake offers of work and then tricking them into posing nude on camera, babe can reveal. Story continues below advertisement. Economists presume all this information has made the sex trade more efficientwith participants getting better prices and more transparency. Even before the measures passed into law, their effects were apparent. Yet even as supply and transparency increased, the price for sex also increased. New technology Backpage launched as an online classified ads site — charging only to post ads in the various sections that, prosecutors say, were more or less explicitly selling sex — and Sarah says it was a massive improvement.

Around , Sarah started out working for an escort service that was supposed to screen clients for safety — an arrangement she considered safer than walking the streets. On one of her early bookings, she arrived at a house to find not one man waiting for her but three, who chased her to her car when she balked at going into the house, she says.

Backpage launched as an online classified ads site — charging only to post ads in the various sections that, prosecutors say, were more or less explicitly selling sex — and Sarah says it was a massive improvement. A single ad might net her queries from prospective clients, allowing her to be selective. The site also allowed her to contact clients initially without having to provide any of her personal contact information.

Additional websites sprang up, creating online communities where workers could blacklist customers deemed dangerous. Many sex workers migrated onto more elaborate websites with detailed listings.

A search for a few common euphemisms like escort or even backpage on Twitter will show that even mainstream social media websites now are platforms for sex-industry marketing. Not every person posting ads on Backpage was charging hundreds of dollars an hour for their services, and as federal indictments and advocacy groups have pointed out, the far more sordid side of the sex trade took advantage of technology as well, concedes Alexandra Levy, a Notre Dame University law school professor who supports decriminalization of sex work.

Jessica, a graduate student at a Chicago university who was a sex-trafficking victim in her early teens, said she doubts changes to the law or even the shutdown of sites like Backpage will do little to stop the ugliest aspects of the sex trade. Homeless, she wound up turning to a year-old friend of an ex-boyfriend for help. The man offered to introduce her to his friends who would pay her for sex, an arrangement that lasted for a few perilous months.

I had to listen to men talking about how to kill me and hide my body. People are still going to buy sex. Subscribe for unlimited digital access. According to sex workers, the biggest benefit of advertising platforms like Backpage was that it allowed them to find and screen their own clients. Sex workers were able to post their own ads and hand-screen respondents to make sure they were safe to take on as clients.

Consensual sex work transfers money mostly from white men into the pockets of poor and marginalized women, without wage theft. Not a single retail job does that. With street work, girls pick up clients by approaching strange men in public, often on a specific street or in a certain neighborhood. Sex workers also used sites like VerifyHim and other blacklist networks to flag dangerous individuals and weed out potentially dangerous clients.

The fact that the founders of Backpage are being charged with "aiding and abetting prostitution", and not anything to do with sex trafficking is all the proof you need that this is about punishing consensual sex workers, not rescuing sex trafficking victims. The ultimate fear of the sex workers I spoke to, either for their fellow workers or for themselves, was being forced into doing street work — the kind of hustling you see in movies like Taken, where scantily clad women proposition random drivers out in public.

Even the totally normal clients are more likely to try and push boundaries. The shutting down of Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients. Lynn echoed that street work is incredibly dangerous. Once, Lynn said a gang kidnapped her friend and forced her to be a sex slave for a year — after they picked her up off of the streets.

Even though SESTA-FOSTA itself only covers crime related to prostitution, sex workers and internet activists say it sets a precedent for the government to require platforms to police any and all content users post online, lest the platforms be held accountable. Decriminalizing sex work does not help sex traffickers- it puts them out of business. This will endanger the lives of sex workers.

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