Under the pressure of 17 states, Craigslist decides to shut down its Adult Services section. I can’t blame Craig – sex sells news, and his site has been made a scapegoat of every pre-election politician looking for a quick minute in the media spotlight. However, I do hope that both the defenders of sex worker’s rights and the First Amendment will step in and have their say in the media too.
This is not about the safety for sex workers. The entire Craigslist witch-hunt is about the visibility of the sex workers. The mainstream and the politicians would like nothing better than to force sex workers into the shadows and the streets again, no matter how many more of them would get hurt, beaten and killed.
Out of sight, out of mind – the “public” is now faced with sex workers who are vocal, visible, and numerous, and (oh, horror), normal, everyday people. That makes it harder to demonize sex work and pretend all who sell sex must be, somehow, “broken”…
Here in San Francisco, we had a short lived advertising campaign against homeless – in essence, it said “I hate having to step over you on my way to work, so go die somewhere else”. Here in San Francisco, we had a short lived advertising campaign against homeless – in essence, it said “I hate having to step over you on my way to work, so go die somewhere else”. This campaign against Craigslist and sex work advertising on the Internet is no different. “Go somewhere else, so I don’t have to stretch my small, bigoted mind to include *you* into my world.”
The only way to stop crime is to bring the activities that surround it into light. Once the sex work by adults who choose to do it freely is legal, and people doing it don’t have to fear going to police to report the crimes against them, trafficking would be harder to pull off. And so would the beatings, rapes, robberies and other abuse that goes on because the victims feel they have to stay invisible for their own protection.
Remember the “Craigslist killer”? His first victims didn’t die – but did not report him because they were more afraid of *you* then of him. If they had the option to report the crime without the fear of further victimization by the authorities, his last victim just might have been alive today.
His browsing records helped to catch him after a single murder. The Green River killer Ridgway murdered 48 prostitutes in 20 years before he was caught in 2001, picking them up on the streets – and we’re expected to believe that pushing sex workers back on the street will make them safer?? Right.
For more on the history of the Craigslist witch hunt and the alternative sources for adult advertising, check out my previous posts:
Craigslist update, and other adult classified options
-including the list of free and for-pay Adult Classifieds that work
In the news:
Hypocritical Legal Crusade Against Craigslist Will Not Solve Violence Against Sex Trafficking Victims – AlterNet
Some See a Ploy as Craigslist Blocks Sex Ads – New York Times (the mainstream media is, as usual, clueless when dealing with anything connected to sex work)
Online Prostitution Won’t Be Stopped By 1 ‘Censored’ Bar On Craigslist – Huffington Post