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But when it comes to laws that target sex workers: This framing also ignores the excruciatingly obvious: In the words of Laura LeMoon , who is herself a sex worker and trafficking survivor:. You know why that is? Because the answer is decriminalization of sex work. Those who conflate sex work and trafficking or simply oppose sex work on ideological grounds have long scrambled for someone to blame and, in turn, criminalise. When going after sex workers directly looks bad, pimps can be a useful pariah: Setting aside the harmful erasure of sex workers who are not cis women , this construction of the pimp is a gross simplification.

I do not mean to suggest that pimps do not exist — in fact, some sex workers fear that the removal of online spaces in which to advertise will leave them dependent on pimps who seek to capitalise on their vulnerability. I do however wish to point out that this representation of the pimp as a menacing figure has been used to justify paternalistic policy that does sex workers harm, and to silence those who object. I myself have never met a pimp as they describe it. This appears to be an increasingly common silencing tactic.

Laws that have taken this approach have always failed , and they have done grave harm to sex workers in the process, inadvertently or otherwise. As historian Julia Laite explains:. I have charted a move of prostitution further and further underground as the legal and social stigma of selling and buying sex increased over the course of the century.

The result, no matter who in the sex industry was targeted by the law the prostitutes, the pimps, or the clients was the same: When sex work and trafficking are conflated and pimps are targeted, sex workers may no longer be the explicitly demonised party, but they remain stigmatised as victims and as objects.

Not only are sex workers assumed to be voiceless, but those who wish to save them from their perceived plight maintain a material investment in upholding their voicelessness.

As Emily Smith astutely observed, sex workers are canaries in the coal mine when it comes to free speech.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. You may use these HTML tags and attributes: In the words of Laura LeMoon , who is herself a sex worker and trafficking survivor: Backpage general counsel Liz McDougall dismissed the raid as an "election year stunt" which wasn't "a good-faith action by law enforcement", and stated that the company would "take all steps necessary to end this frivolous prosecution and will pursue its full remedies under federal law against the state actors who chose to ignore the law, as it has done successfully in other cases.

He posited that AG Harris was more interested in the publicity from the arrests for political gain than in enforcing a law she had previously admitted was unenforceable by individual states as specified in section But the attorney general of California has managed the feat.

By charging Carl Ferrer, the chief executive of Backpage. Numerous previous court ruling and decisions were cited in the Demurrer supporting this position. The AG filed its response to the Demurrer on 4 November Backpage Attorneys filed their reply in support of the Demurrer on 10 November On 16 November Judge Michael Bowman of the Superior Court of the State of California issued a tentative ruling in this case supporting the position of Backpage and granting its request for dismissal of the case.

Bowman dismissed all the charges in the complaint, stating that:. Congress has precluded liability for online publishers for the action of publishing third party speech and thus provided for both a foreclosure from prosecution and an affirmative defense at trial. Congress has spoken on this matter and it is for Congress, not this Court, to revisit.

They were charged with pimping and money laundering. Lawyers for Backpage responded that the charges rehashed the earlier case that had been dismissed on December 9, Jim Grant, an attorney for Backpage said: Since April , the U. Over the ensuing months, Backpage raised and PSI rejected numerous objections to the subpoena, including that the subpoena was impermissibly burdensome both in the volume of documents PSI demanded and in its intrusion into constitutionally-protected editorial discretion.

PSI subsequently issued a shorter document subpoena with only eight requests but broader in scope and also targeting Backpage. PSI applied in March for a federal court order to enforce three of the eight categories of documents in the subpoena. In August , the U. District Court in D. Backpage immediately filed an appeal and sought a stay, which the district court denied, then filed emergency stay petitions with the U.

Court of Appeals for the D. Circuit, and Supreme Court. Each appellate court issued temporary stays to consider whether to grant a stay pending appeal, [81] but eventually denied the emergency stay requests, [82] However, the D. Circuit agreed to expedite the appeal, and one of its judges who considered the emergency stay said he would have granted it.

Backpage has continued to pursue its appeal despite producing thousands of documents to PSI pursuant to the District Court order. PSI scheduled a Subcommittee hearing regarding Backpage.

S 1st Circuit Court of Appeals that a suit filed in Boston federal court in against Backpage by three women who claimed that Backpage was responsible for them being forced into illegal sex transactions. The Court of Appeals held that Backpage could not be held liable as the "publisher or speaker" for postings on its site by third parties in accordance with the protections provided to website operators under section of the CDA.

Also on 9 January , prior to its scheduled hearings on Backpage the next day, the PSI released a report that accused Backpage of knowingly facilitating child sex trafficking. Shortly thereafter, Backpage announced that it would remove its adult sections from all of its sites in the United States. In late-March and early-April , courts in Massachusetts and Florida affirmed that Backpage's facilitation of sex trafficking fell outside of the immunity granted by Section safe harbors.

The latter ruling argued that because Backpage "materially contributed to the content of the advertisement" by censoring specific keywords, it became a publisher of content and thus no longer protected. On 6 April , Backpage was seized by the United States Department of Justice , and it was reported that Michael Lacey's home had been raided by authorities. On 12 April , Carl Ferrer, the chief executive officer CEO of Backpage pleaded guilty to both state and federal charges, including but not limited to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and money laundering.

Also on 12 April , the company Backpage pleaded guilty to human trafficking , announced the Texas Attorney General. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Australian sports television series, see Back Page Live. This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it, or adding or removing subheadings. Retrieved 20 January Retrieved 27 May Retrieved 1 March The Ultimate Guide to Backpage Ads 1st ed.

Retrieved 16 September Last September, however, the Supreme Court in Washington state ruled that a suit against Backpage. Backpage was seized by the federal government on April 6th, Retrieved 21 January Aider of traffickers, or way to stop them?

Retrieved 17 February Retrieved 10 November Retrieved 14 September What's Wrong with the War on Sex Trafficking". Retrieved 30 May Retrieved 21 February It's the more marginalized and poorer workers who are hit hardest by this. Archived from the original on 16 January Retrieved 25 January Retrieved 1 December Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Retrieved 16 January Retrieved 2 August Digital Media Law Project.

Retrieved 18 May Retrieved 5 May

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There have been reports of sex workers being shadow banned and permanently suspended from Twitter and Instagram. There are indications that peer education and resource sharing online will become criminalised. Backpage , which was used by sex workers across the world to advertise their services, was seized by the USA Department of Justice in early April, Craigslist Personals was shut down in March, and FetLife has cracked down on users advertising escort services.

For many sex workers, especially those who are trans and people of colour , the loss of Backpage has meant the swift loss of their primary or sole source of income, as well as their means of screening and thus avoiding dangerous clients. Reports that sex workers have disappeared since the seizure of Backpage are a sobering reminder of this.

Sex work is already criminalised and heavily policed in the USA , with sex workers fearing street sweeps and sting operations. Additionally, there has been a longstanding tradition of criminalising everything that surrounds sex work , such as third parties or the spaces in which legislators assume sex work occurs, rather than the exchange of sexual services for money itself.

Especially in the digital age, this approach can have effects in jurisdictions where sex work is not criminalised, as Sydney-based sex workers who use Backpage to advertise recently experienced. Rather than reducing the prevalence of sex work, this tends to simply shift activity from one sector to another , or force sex workers to develop new circuits of communication. While sex workers have proved extremely adaptive and innovative in this respect, many are harmed and some even killed in the process , with the most marginalised in our communities at highest risk.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp joined Walters, proclaiming victory against traffickers. Further, this charge was issued by the state of Texas, while all the federal criminal charges pertain to money laundering, conspiracy, or violations of the Travel Act, the latter being the means by which prostitution charges have been laid, since soliciting prostitution is not currently federal crime.

This pattern persists despite the fact that trafficking is a profoundly misunderstood concept , and that research about the scope and nature of trafficking in the sex industry is notoriously exaggerated and unreliable.

Finally, this pattern denies a simple fact that somehow bears repeating — things are not other things — trafficking is by definition forced or coerced, and sex work is no more coerced than any other form of paid labour under capitalism.

But when it comes to laws that target sex workers: This framing also ignores the excruciatingly obvious: In the words of Laura LeMoon , who is herself a sex worker and trafficking survivor:. You know why that is? Because the answer is decriminalization of sex work. Those who conflate sex work and trafficking or simply oppose sex work on ideological grounds have long scrambled for someone to blame and, in turn, criminalise. When going after sex workers directly looks bad, pimps can be a useful pariah: Setting aside the harmful erasure of sex workers who are not cis women , this construction of the pimp is a gross simplification.

They enlisted support from musicians, politicians, journalists, media companies and retailers. The campaign created a greater public dialogue, both pro and con, regarding Backpage. Over , people including religious leaders, 51 attorneys general, 19 U.

In , Village Voice Media separated their newspaper company, which then consisted of eleven weekly alternative newspapers and their affiliated web properties, from Backpage, leaving Backpage in control of shareholders Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. Executives for the spinoff holding company, called Voice Media Group VMG and based in Denver, raised "some money from private investors" in order to purchase the newspapers.

Beginning in a number of legal challenges were initiated by foes of Backpage in attempts to eliminate the adult section of the website and or shut down the website entirely. These actions included legislative initiatives as well as lawsuits brought by individuals; all of these lawsuits, which were mostly brought by politicians and NGOs, were successfully challenged by Backpage, which argued that the First Amendment protections of free speech were being compromised by any restriction on postings by individuals on the Backpage website.

The Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution as well as the Commerce Clause were also cited as reasons that these efforts were illegal under U. Section says that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. It contains details about 17 alleged victims which range from minors as young as 14 years old to adults, who were allegedly trafficked on the site while Backpage was knowingly facilitating prostitution.

One year-old is alleged to have been forced to do in-calls at hotels. A second teenager was allegedly told to "perform sexual acts at gunpoint and choked" until she had seizures, before being gang-raped. A third victim, advertised under the pseudonym "Nadia" was stabbed to death, while a fourth victim was murdered in , and her corpse deliberately burned. The lawyer for Backpage operations manager Andrew Padilla stated that his client was "not legally responsible for any actions of third parties under U.

He is no more responsible than the owner of a community billboard when someone places an ad on it," [61] [62]. The State of Texas was also considering a money laundering charge pending its investigation. Lacey and Larkin were charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. Backpage general counsel Liz McDougall dismissed the raid as an "election year stunt" which wasn't "a good-faith action by law enforcement", and stated that the company would "take all steps necessary to end this frivolous prosecution and will pursue its full remedies under federal law against the state actors who chose to ignore the law, as it has done successfully in other cases.

He posited that AG Harris was more interested in the publicity from the arrests for political gain than in enforcing a law she had previously admitted was unenforceable by individual states as specified in section But the attorney general of California has managed the feat. By charging Carl Ferrer, the chief executive of Backpage. Numerous previous court ruling and decisions were cited in the Demurrer supporting this position.

The AG filed its response to the Demurrer on 4 November Backpage Attorneys filed their reply in support of the Demurrer on 10 November On 16 November Judge Michael Bowman of the Superior Court of the State of California issued a tentative ruling in this case supporting the position of Backpage and granting its request for dismissal of the case.

Bowman dismissed all the charges in the complaint, stating that:. Congress has precluded liability for online publishers for the action of publishing third party speech and thus provided for both a foreclosure from prosecution and an affirmative defense at trial. Congress has spoken on this matter and it is for Congress, not this Court, to revisit. They were charged with pimping and money laundering.

Lawyers for Backpage responded that the charges rehashed the earlier case that had been dismissed on December 9, Jim Grant, an attorney for Backpage said: Since April , the U. Over the ensuing months, Backpage raised and PSI rejected numerous objections to the subpoena, including that the subpoena was impermissibly burdensome both in the volume of documents PSI demanded and in its intrusion into constitutionally-protected editorial discretion.

PSI subsequently issued a shorter document subpoena with only eight requests but broader in scope and also targeting Backpage. PSI applied in March for a federal court order to enforce three of the eight categories of documents in the subpoena. In August , the U. District Court in D. Backpage immediately filed an appeal and sought a stay, which the district court denied, then filed emergency stay petitions with the U.

Court of Appeals for the D. Circuit, and Supreme Court. Each appellate court issued temporary stays to consider whether to grant a stay pending appeal, [81] but eventually denied the emergency stay requests, [82] However, the D. Circuit agreed to expedite the appeal, and one of its judges who considered the emergency stay said he would have granted it. Backpage has continued to pursue its appeal despite producing thousands of documents to PSI pursuant to the District Court order.

PSI scheduled a Subcommittee hearing regarding Backpage. S 1st Circuit Court of Appeals that a suit filed in Boston federal court in against Backpage by three women who claimed that Backpage was responsible for them being forced into illegal sex transactions.

The Court of Appeals held that Backpage could not be held liable as the "publisher or speaker" for postings on its site by third parties in accordance with the protections provided to website operators under section of the CDA. Also on 9 January , prior to its scheduled hearings on Backpage the next day, the PSI released a report that accused Backpage of knowingly facilitating child sex trafficking.

Shortly thereafter, Backpage announced that it would remove its adult sections from all of its sites in the United States. In late-March and early-April , courts in Massachusetts and Florida affirmed that Backpage's facilitation of sex trafficking fell outside of the immunity granted by Section safe harbors.

The latter ruling argued that because Backpage "materially contributed to the content of the advertisement" by censoring specific keywords, it became a publisher of content and thus no longer protected. On 6 April , Backpage was seized by the United States Department of Justice , and it was reported that Michael Lacey's home had been raided by authorities. On 12 April , Carl Ferrer, the chief executive officer CEO of Backpage pleaded guilty to both state and federal charges, including but not limited to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and money laundering.

Also on 12 April , the company Backpage pleaded guilty to human trafficking , announced the Texas Attorney General. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Australian sports television series, see Back Page Live.

This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it, or adding or removing subheadings. Retrieved 20 January Retrieved 27 May Retrieved 1 March The Ultimate Guide to Backpage Ads 1st ed. Retrieved 16 September Last September, however, the Supreme Court in Washington state ruled that a suit against Backpage. Backpage was seized by the federal government on April 6th, Retrieved 21 January