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When the Department of Justice unceremoniously shut down Back last week, it was the first public-facing step in a sweeping criminal case against the website's executives. The site had served as a microcosm of a larger debate on prostitution in recent years, and the seizure of what the DOJ called the "Internet's leading forum for prostitution " ignited swift reactions on both sides. Meanwhile, sex workers across the U. While many sex workers told The Arizona Republic they would continue posting on other smaller websites, they also worry about the future. On Wednesday morning, President Trump ed a bill giving prosecutors more power to go after websites that knowingly host sex-trafficking.
It also gives women who claimed they were trafficked the ability to sue. It's not clear how websites will respond. After the one backpage passed Congress, for example, Craigslist took down its singles. And as the bill was moving through Congress, Back restricted postings on singles to photos, phone s and web links.
After the Back closure April 6, an Arizona-based sex worker called Vegas said she relied on her regular clients to one backpage her through that weekend. Prostitution is still illegal in 49 states, the exception being certain counties in Nevada.
For this reason, The Arizona Republic has agreed to withhold the sex workers' legal names for this story. In Canada, selling sex is legal, but buying it isn't. Vegas said Back afforded her more anonymity than meeting strangers in public.
And it gave her a barrier to screen her clients and meet them in a safe place. The woman described how she would have unknown clients call from her cross street so she could check them out from her window. A Michigan woman who goes by the one backpage Sarah Fenix on Twitter posted a viral thread about how the ability to screen on Back saved her from riskier sex work. Back didn't turn me into a sex worker, any more than Youtube can turn people in musicians or comedians.
It was just the medium. A really good, really helpful medium that was free and accessible. Fenix told The Republic she used the site to test the client before they met up.
Fenix said she is no longer in the business and now works a "cube" job. Seeing the closure of Back though, she said, was like watching hood house burn down. Advocates for decriminalization say the sex industry will always be around, and regulation would make it safer.
Those against it argue that selling sex, by nature, is abusive. Advocates have succeeded in changing police attitudes about prostitutes from being seen as criminals to women in need of rescue. In recent years, some anti-trafficking advocacy and political groups have begun blurring the lines between prostitution and sex trafficking: Per the expanded definition, a sex-trafficking victim is someone who enters prostitution by force, fraud or coercion. A minor, by definition is always considered a trafficking victim. Back one backpage are not charged with a sex-trafficking crime, but instead crimes related to facilitating prostitution and money laundering.
Will that be its undoing? Of the 17 victim narratives in the indictment, only three do not mention a pimp or trafficker. Of the three women who apparently posted their owntwo were killed by customers. Of the 14 that do mention a pimp or trafficker, five of the victims, according to the indictment, were juveniles during some of the time they had on Back. The youngest was 14 when her first ad appeared on Back, the indictment says. Victim 8 was 15, according to the indictment, when her uncle and his friends started posting for her on Back and forced her to be raped by customers.
Under the federal definition of sex trafficking, an underage girl working as a prostitute is pd to be trafficked. Some of the other narratives contain details that could be defined as force, fraud or coercion, the conditions that define that one backpage woman is being trafficked. One victim, named as Victim 11, had a trafficker who sexually assaulted her with a firearm, gave her drugs and took her identification, the indictment says. Victim 15, according to the indictment, attempted to escape her trafficker by jumping out of a vehicle on Interstate She was run over by several vehicles on the freeway and killed.
In recent years, law-enforcement actually worked Back to conduct prostitution-related sting operations. Police, including those in Phoenix, have ly posted on Back posing as an underage girl for sale, or as a trafficker searching for victims. Jonathan Howard, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department, rejected one backpage notion that sites like Back should remain in place because it confined criminals to one area.
Howard said police hope Back's closure encourages troubled young women and men to seek options other than prostitution. For more stories that matter, subscribe to azcentral. Facebook Twitter. Sex workers 'devastated,' look to alternatives after Back closure. Cindy McCain lauds Back indictment.
These are the staggering statistics of sex trafficking. IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens spent more than a year investigating a lucrative business where abused children are bought and sold. Senate pressure le Back. After two years of intense scrutiny from the U. Senate and elsewhere, online ad-posting site Back.
Trump s law aimed at curbing sex trafficking. President Donald Trump ed a new law Wednesday aimed at curbing sex trafficking. The law weakens a legal shield for online services that host abusive content. At a ing ceremony, he told survivors, 'You are not alone. Share your feedback to help improve our site!One backpage
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