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Some sex workers are already losing their housing as a direct result of forums like Craigslist personals going dark, according to Christa B.

Daring, board president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Many pay rent week-to-week and struggle to feed themselves and their children, they said. Craigslist was the first site Stark used to transition away from the street, where she relied on her military training to make "snap judgments" to stay out of harm's way, dodge potentially dangerous clients and avoid getting arrested -- again.

Even with the advantage of her military training, however, "most often, physical appearance and demeanor really don't tell you a whole lot," she said. Many sex workers run background checks on clients, communicate through online forums and check "bad date lists," which sex workers create to warn others about hostile clients.

Stark also has a mandatory hour waiting period before she agrees to meet clients, giving her time to check for criminal records and other warning signs.

She learned ways to stay safe and grow her business from other sex workers online, some of whom keep blogs. We can mentor each other. We can support each other.

We can screen our clients," said Akynos. Bolstering these concerns about sex worker safety is a recent research paper -- still under peer review -- that suggests Craigslist's "erotic" services section may be linked to a drop in the female homicide rate. Prostitutes speak out against Senate health bill. I don't think Waco had one. But Craigslist didn't launch this section in every city at the same time.

Cunningham's team found that cities where Craigslist launched the section for erotic services reduced their female homicide rate by up to However, it is not possible to say what portion of those homicide victims were sex workers, Cunningham said, nor is it possible to prove that Craigslist was directly responsible for the dip.

This reduction wasn't seen for other types of homicides Cunningham analyzed. The research gives quantitative insight into what is likely to happen in the wake of the new bill, he said.

Some of them go back to working for a pimp. Some of them, maybe they advertise on the dark web. Limited information exists on the number of sex workers in the United States, including illegal acts of prostitution. Many definitions of sex work include a broader variety of services beyond prostitution, such as "erotic performances. Akynos expects that black sex workers will be some of the hardest hit by the anti-trafficking legislation.

She recently founded a group called the Black Sex Worker Collective to "help facilitate sex workers who may be looking to exit the business, as well as support those that are in the business. We're already criminalized in so many more ways than white people are, period," said Akynos, who specified that she was not talking about sex work alone.

What is going to happen to us as a whole? The bill's supporters, including 97 senators who voted for the legislation, say it will give law enforcement tools in the fight against sex trafficking and enable survivors and their families to seek justice in the court system. The bill followed a two-year Senate investigation into online sex trafficking on the classified ads site Backpage.

The investigation, led by bill co-sponsors Sens. Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, found that Backpage knowingly aided criminal sex trafficking of women and young girls, scrubbing terms from ads such as "Lolita," "teenage," "rape" and "amber alert" and publishing them on its site.

Anti-trafficking organizations around the world. The investigation led Backpage to shut down its adult ads section. The site was seized by federal law enforcement agencies Friday, and on Monday the Justice Department announced that seven people have been indicted on 93 counts related to facilitating prostitution and money laundering. Ron Wyden, one of only two senators to vote against the new bill, said in February that it would paradoxically "make it harder to catch bad actors and protect victims by driving this vile crime to shadowy corners of society that are harder for law enforcement to reach.

Roughly 6, sex trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline last year. When asked about the concerns over sex worker safety, Benavides said, "Tell that to the mothers and fathers of daughters who've been murdered after being trafficked on Backpage. Despite wide congressional support, a number of tech groups have voiced concerns about the legislation, alleging that its broad reach could lead to unintended negative consequences for free speech on the internet and for smaller companies whose resources don't rival those of tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

The American Civil Liberties Union is considering a challenge to the bill once it gets signed into law but has no definite plans to do so, said Ian Thompson, a legislative representative for the organization. Thompson said some of the bill's language is "so broad that it's open to interpretation of what exactly is intended to be included and what's not intended to be included.

Just before the bill passed, McCaskill told reporters that it was "a very, very narrowly written law. Craigslist itself has previously been a target of law enforcement officials over its adult ads. For independent sex workers — those who are not being trafficked but freely choose to perform sex work — the legislation threatened to shut down a crucial means of vetting clients and keeping themselves safe, as Emma Roller explained in Splinter last week.

The internet has been an incredible harm reduction tool for sex workers and, many times, victims of human trafficking. Sex workers can perform background checks, looking up clients' personal information and history before meeting with them for the first time. They can use "bad dates lists" hosted online — and updated by fellow sex workers — to weed out potentially dangerous clients.

And they can also use social media to connect with fellow sex workers and sex work organizations, sharing resources to keep each other safe. Research shows sex workers are safer when they're able to screen their clients online before meeting with them. A study from researchers at Baylor University and West Virginia University estimated that Craigslist's "erotic services" section "reduced female homicide rates by as much as By being vague about what it means to "promote and facilitate prostitution," SESTA-FOSTA will potentially outlaw the channels that sex workers use to keep themselves safe from violence — pretty ironic for an anti-trafficking bill.

The law, called Section , allows websites to host user-generated posts without being liable for the content of those posts.

It's what lets sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and any news site with a comments section to operate and create spaces for people to speak freely. By holding websites accountable for certain types of user-generated speech, Congress is encouraging platforms to implement censorship tools that will almost certainly end up shutting down some protected speech as collateral damage.

The digital civil liberties organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains how this censorship will work:.

It's easy to see the impact that this ramp-up in liability will have on online speech: What forms that erasure takes will vary from platform to platform. For some, it will mean increasingly restrictive terms of service — banning sexual content, for example, or advertisements for legal escort services. For others, it will mean over-reliance on automated filters to delete borderline posts. No matter what methods platforms use to mitigate their risk, one thing is certain: The Internet will become a less inclusive place, something that hurts all of us.

That said, many Craigslist users seem to have moved their personals listings to the "Activity Partners" section of the websites, so it may take a little finagling for Craigslist to eradicate sexually explicit ads.

Mar 23 , 1: On Friday, Craigslist responded by completely shutting down its personals section, replacing it with the following note: Anderson is Digg's managing editor. Taken all over the globe, these images represent the world's very best photographers seeking out beautiful scenes in the most remote corners of our planet. Huge contributions from tech titans, a STEM-packed curriculum, gadgets everywhere: Willie Brown Middle School was supposed to set the bar.

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