Safe house helps teenage sex trafficking victim. Survivor overcomes her sex trafficking past. Sex trafficking in Colombia. Students fight modern slavery. Artists draw attention to modern slavery. From domestic slave to the Democratic Convention. Sex trafficking victim speaks out.
Story highlights The bill that passed Congress may actually harm sex workers, critics say Internet forums provide protections for sex workers, who find work off streets.
Seeing her own reflection "was so traumatizing" for Stark, a transgender woman who hadn't yet undergone the surgical treatments she knew she needed. Some days, she couldn't leave the house. She tried taking her own life. An Army veteran living with disability, she could not get this surgical care from her usual provider, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which does not pay for or perform gender transition-related surgeries.
Stark calls Wisconsin home but mostly lives out of a suitcase, maintaining a busy schedule as an escort, adult film performer, photographer and phone sex operator. But now, her career is coming to an abrupt end after a bill passed by Congress in March. Senate approves anti-sex-trafficking bill. I just call it the end of my career, essentially," she said.
The bill, called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act , prompted the online bulletin board Craigslist to shut down its personal ads two days after its passage. The bill was directed against sex trafficking, not the volitional career in sex work to which Stark credits her own survival.
Craigslist is an online classifieds site, divided by city or geographic area, through which users advertise a range of goods, services, jobs and housing. Now awaiting the president's signature, the bill paves the way for sex trafficking survivors to hold websites accountable for "knowingly" facilitating their abuse. The legislation chips away at part of a act that gave a broad layer of immunity to online companies, such as Facebook or Twitter, from being held liable for what their users post.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. Though the bill aims to crack down on sex trafficking and protect survivors, critics say it threatens the lives and livelihoods of sex workers who choose to work in the profession by encouraging websites like Craigslist to censor their content -- pushing some sex workers back out to the street and removing their tools for finding and screening clients.
Some sex workers are already losing their housing as a direct result of forums like Craigslist personals going dark, according to Christa B. Daring, board president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Many pay rent week-to-week and struggle to feed themselves and their children, they said.
Craigslist was the first site Stark used to transition away from the street, where she relied on her military training to make "snap judgments" to stay out of harm's way, dodge potentially dangerous clients and avoid getting arrested -- again.
Even with the advantage of her military training, however, "most often, physical appearance and demeanor really don't tell you a whole lot," she said. Many sex workers run background checks on clients, communicate through online forums and check "bad date lists," which sex workers create to warn others about hostile clients.
Stark also has a mandatory hour waiting period before she agrees to meet clients, giving her time to check for criminal records and other warning signs.
She learned ways to stay safe and grow her business from other sex workers online, some of whom keep blogs. We can mentor each other. We can support each other.
We can screen our clients," said Akynos. Bolstering these concerns about sex worker safety is a recent research paper -- still under peer review -- that suggests Craigslist's "erotic" services section may be linked to a drop in the female homicide rate. Prostitutes speak out against Senate health bill. I don't think Waco had one. But Craigslist didn't launch this section in every city at the same time.
Cunningham's team found that cities where Craigslist launched the section for erotic services reduced their female homicide rate by up to However, it is not possible to say what portion of those homicide victims were sex workers, Cunningham said, nor is it possible to prove that Craigslist was directly responsible for the dip. This reduction wasn't seen for other types of homicides Cunningham analyzed.
The research gives quantitative insight into what is likely to happen in the wake of the new bill, he said. Unfortunately, it appears that there are high financial incentives for Craigslist and other online search engines to continue fighting to keep their adult services online sections operational. AK made nothing other than an occasional meal. What do you call someone who profits from the sale of another human being? Businesses such as the social networking classifieds website Kroobe.
Kroobe's Founder, Salmane Saadani, hopes to start a movement where classifieds websites and social networking sites adopt strict practices to combat sex trafficking, such as manual monitoring of every ad. Kroobe has been chosen by the FAIR Fund to participate in its forthcoming best practices guidelines prepared for online search engines and businesses listings sites, which will highlight key practical best practices that responsible businesses like Kroobe have implemented. Saadani says, "Our number one priority is to provide a safe and ethical platform for local communities to thrive, while very publicly preventing people from posting sex ads of any kind.
We encourage other businesses to join us in this effort to put an end to sex trafficking. At Kroobe, Saadani says he has set forth specific measures to combat sex ads, and especially sex trafficking ads, including: These measures are consistent with the FAIR Fund developed best business practices to reduce the commercial sexual exploitation of minors online. Both Cohen and Powell have expressed their hope that Craigslist, Backpage, and others would hear their advice and follow the example of newcomers like Kroobe that manually monitor ads and systematically limit the possibility of sex ads being published on their websites.
Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Although Craigslist shut down its Adult Services category is the United States, the problem has migrated to three other areas: Adult Services has only been shut down on Craigslist's U.Kutcher testifies against sex trafficking. The company also received media attention after a number of high-profile murders and stories about sex trafficking through their website. An Army veteran living with disability, she could not get this surgical care from her usual provider, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which does not pay for or perform gender transition-related surgeries. Also, most women posting on casual encounters are A: While all manner of sexual proclivities are widely available on Craigslist, the truth is prostitution is still illegal in this country, and any advertisement looking explicitly for payment for sex will be pulled by the moderators on craigslist. From there, users can decide if they want to chat with that person, or to move on.
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