SF Chronicle: Sex workers returned to streets after Backpage shuttered

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle contains few surprises to readers of MikeSouth.com, but it’s a riveting look at the devastation wrought by the terrible FOSTA/SESTA legislation and the closure of Backpage.com and similar sites

San Francisco — The government shutdown of Backpage.com this year sought to curtail the type of sex-for-sale classified ads that made the company infamous. Months later, though, the closure has prompted an increase in sex trafficking on San Francisco streets.

Reported crimes related to pimping and sex trafficking have more than tripled in 2018 — with 67 through August, up from 21 during the same period last year, according to police. Meanwhile, officers have made more arrests than previous years as much of the activity had been hidden online, said David Stevenson, a city police spokesman.

Violence against both sex workers and people soliciting sex is a concerning trend as well, said Sgt. Antonio Flores of the department’s special victims and human trafficking unit.

“A few sex workers are becoming violent,” he said. “Then there are those that tend to prey on sex workers.”

Backpage.com, long criticized by authorities for being an online brothel, was shut down in April after an FBI investigation, and CEO Carl Ferrer was charged with money laundering. The website’s closure came after Congress passed laws that effectively made websites hosting adult ads responsible for the postings of users.

The new laws have had a side effect on San Francisco streets, said Pike Long, deputy director of St. James Infirmary, a peer-based health and safety clinic for sex workers in San Francisco.

“Without being able to advertise online,” Long said, “a huge number of sex workers were forced to go outside, and many have reported that former pimps came out of the woodwork offering to ‘manage’ their business again since they were now rendered unable to find and screen clients online.”

The whole story at the SF Chronicle

295550cookie-checkSF Chronicle: Sex workers returned to streets after Backpage shuttered

SF Chronicle: Sex workers returned to streets after Backpage shuttered

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