Under the guise of targeting sex traffickers, FOSTA has both done damage to Section protections and sex workers' literal lives. The law has yet to result in any credible, sustained damage to human trafficking, but that hasn't stopped the bill's supporters from trotting out debunked numbers anytime they need a soundbite. There will likely be no studies performed by the government to determine FOSTA's actual impact on sex trafficking, but plenty of academics are offering evidence that pushing sex work further underground is endangering the lives of sex workers. This is just the icing on the stupid, life-threatening cake as multiple law enforcement agencies -- including the DOJ itself -- pointed out passing FOSTA would make it more difficult to hunt down traffickers. Craigslist spent a few years being publicly vilified by public officials -- mainly states attorneys general -- before dumping its erotic services section ERS. This didn't stop sex work or trafficking, but it did shift the focus away from Craiglist as everyone affected found other services to use.
Female homicide rate dropped after Craigslist launched its erotic services platform – ThinkProgress
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No Erotic Services? No problem for prostitutes on craigslist
Craigslist may have officially shut down its Erotic Services section in favor of a less prostitution-friendly "Adult" area, but what prostitution did exist on the site is still alive and well. Not only that, but the changes may have made the world's oldest profession a little more dangerous for working girls, at least according to those who do business on the site. The Erotic Services section used to be rife with listings containing nude or semi-nude pics and explicit descriptions of the available services. To those who have ever seen it—or the back of practically any local magazine over the last several decades—it's obvious that these listings ultimately amount to the exchange of money for sexual gratification.
The last two posts I wrote about SESTA discussed how, if it passes, it will result in collateral damage to the important speech interests Section is intended to protect. This post discusses how it will also result in collateral damage to the important interests that SESTA itself is intended to protect: those of vulnerable sex workers. Concerns about how SESTA would affect them are not new: several anti-trafficking advocacy groups and experts have already spoken out about how SESTA, far from ameliorating the risk of sexual exploitation, will only exacerbate the risk of it in no small part because it disables one of the best tools for fighting it: the Internet platforms themselves:.