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Sex workers and America. Backpage shutdown reveals 'complicated' relationship

Friday’s seizure follows the passage last month of SESTA, a controversial bill intended to curb online sex traffic.

Backpage.com, a classified advertising website that faced persistent allegations of profiting from illegal prostitution, was shut down by the U.S. government Friday as authorities reportedly brought criminal charges against seven of those involved in operating the site. Visitors to the website Friday afternoon saw a notice indicating various Backpage sites were taken over in an “enforcement action” brought by the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service and the IRS. A grand jury in Phoenix returned a 93-count indictment charging seven people associated with Backpage with using the internet to knowingly facilitate illegal prostitution and money laundering, according to CBS News and KPHO-TV.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NARRATIVE - THE CRIMINAL, THE WEB PIMP...

Michael Lacey, 69, who helped build a nationwide media empire out of the Phoenix New Times, was charged Friday as part a 93-count indictment.

THE SEX WORKERS NARRATIVE - PLEASE DON'T PUSH US BACK TO STREETS...

Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people involved in the sex trade and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.

​Katie Bloomquist, Vice President of the SWOP-USA Board of Directors issued a press release presenting the other perspective for Backpage shutdown.

EXCERPTS: "Attempting to deter sex workers from their jobs by removing advertising and screening platforms is akin to pushing sex work “underground” and in the streets – where workers have less power in relation to their clients and where sex workers are at greater risk of arrest and police violence. Street-based sex workers who need support are often unable to connect with social services – Backpage, like other websites that came before it such as MyRedBook.Com, and Rentboy, helped close this gap by making screening, verification of clients, and police abuse much less likely to occur (until the online sting operations begun, but that is another statement piece).

The removal of Backpage is another example of state-sanctioned violence against the sex work community and their families. To do this in the name of anti-trafficking is absurd, as this drives trafficking further underground and makes it more difficult to access the most marginalized members of any group of people – whether they be exploited or not."

FULL TEXT HERE​

Katie Bloomquist Vice President of the SWOP-USA Board of Directors is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Sexual Health Institute. She has multiple sex work research publications and presents academically on the sex workers rights movement, sex work stigma and the minority stress of sex work at sexual health and mental health conferences. She is currently developing a training for mental health professionals aimed at reducing clinician bias against sex workers and increasing cultural competency – this training will be tied to a national directory of sex worker-affirmative mental health professionals. Katie offers a therapeutic support group for current and former sex workers in Minneapolis at her clinic.

THE INTERNET DATA NARRATIVE - 100 MILLION VISITS A MONTH, ALMOST 13 MILLION PEOPLE WITH NO PLACE TO GO...

Some indisputable hard data courtesy of the Similarweb.com the website providing Web analysis. Backpage.com is the 56th most popular website in America, it ranks as #320 globally....

There is no way to hide it - Backpage.com is us... 92% visitors are from the USA.

THE JESUS NARRATIVE - AT LEAST HERE THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY...

“Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple, all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in their midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now, in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

(John 7:53-8:11)

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