The ongoing ‘sex-trafficking’ controversy surrounding Village Voice Media-owned Backpage.com (a website where escorts can advertise their services) continues.
About a hundred people showed up to protest the Village Voice offices with signs like "Village Voice: Stop Profiting from Sex Trafficking." It was discovered that a number of escorts advertising on the site were minors.
However, SWOP-NYC were also there handing out fliers and engaging the other protestors in discussion. Sex workers also want an end to exploitation and violence. But they believe in different tactics. "We believe that closing Backpage will lead to sex traffickers scattering to smaller sites that aren't monitored by a full-time staff like Backpage is. Closing Backpage will result in less ability to monitor the sex trade in NYC, not more, which is how sex trafficking is prevented" says Sarah Elspeth-Patterson a Community Organizer of SWOP NYC.
The fear is that shutting down advertising sites will make it harder for people to engage is safe sex work. Elspeth-Patterson points out that it is often underpriveledged sex workers who are using Backpage.com, because they can't afford to advertise on their own. They may then be pushed into even more unregulated venues and unsafe environments. Losing the ability to conduct sex work online also means losing the ability to screen clients beforehand. As well as the important electronic trail which can be key to hunting down a perpetrator if a sex worker is attacked.
You can read the full story at Jezebel.