If you are familiar with BackPage, you are familiar with the personals section of BackPage. What makes this so much different from Craigslist is that there are many more sex workers on this website/app. I mean the first time I took a stroll down that section, everybody was a paper chaser or a trap boi and a lot of them were 18 (Which is code for minor if you don’t know and if you don’t know ask for a face pic and a matching I’d). Of course, my broke ass got back on Grindr and Jack’d to see who was available for free and over the age of 20.
Now we have it now that the CEO of BackPage was arrested for Sex Trafficking minors in California stemming from a three year investigation (Domonoske, 2016). (Mind you, BackPage became very popular in 2011.). The claims are that because the site had minors on their offering sexual acts for favors or money, that the site is responsible (Domonoske, 2016). And I agree with that regarding the minors.
I think that there should be a system to ensure minors are not using that site and being exploited. However, this system has to be placed in every dating/hookup site. Something stating that you have to prove who you are before you use this daring service. Most likely providing a stated issued ID.
However, for those sex workers who are not being exploited and are adults, they would have their livelihoods compromised by this system. For a lot of people, sex work is their only or main source of income. As well, we have a legal system in place that doesn’t allow these individuals to legally obtained these funds without fear of criminalization or imprisonment. This system would then just become another tool of oppression in their lives.
This leads to the picture posted on Tumblr. The internet has created a space for a lot of bad things to occur. We find out that when millions upon millions of people are able to communicate indiscriminately, l the worse in humanity shows up. But a good thing that the internet has helped create, is an open space for sex workers. From cam modeling, prostitution, stripping, and burlesque dancing, the internet has become a safe haven and BackPages has been a tool of service for these sex workers.
Sites/apps like BackPages keeps a lot of these sex workers out the street and away from predators in the best way possible. However, the downside is that the internet is the biggest resource for predators to find and exploit adults and minors alike. While I am happy that they shut Stewart Avenue, which is now Metropolitan, down in Atlanta, there has been a MASSIVE increase in sex trafficking. Last time I checked, Atlanta is number #1 when it comes to sex trafficking. I fear the same will occur with BackPages. But the exploitation, as we already know, occurs on BackPages.
I get both sides. However, I find error in the ways that the government authorities and sex positive freedom fighters (my term don’t judge) are going about it. I think that new laws need to be put in place to protect sex workers. Hell we legalized marijuana and the Earth didn’t crack open. This allowed a safe space of marijuana users and sellers and removed the criminality and danger of smoking weed. I think it would be great if we did the same for sex workers.
Making a living shouldn’t be a sin or against the law.
Domonoske, C. 2016.CEO Of Backpage.com Arrested, Charged With Pimping. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/07/497006100/ceo-of-backpage-com-arrested-charged-with-pimping