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Yet many anti-trafficking organizations, and the legislation they advocate for look to law enforcement as their main tool for combatting trafficking.Even though a 2009 report, also from The Sex Workers Project, found that both trafficking victims and social workers found police raids in the name of human trafficking to be both violent and ineffective.What if just one of those former victims had been able to go to the police without fear?Maybe one, or both of these women would still be alive today.Then in July, another sex worker who advertised on Backpage, Sanisha Johnson, 34, was shot and killed in a Massachusetts hotel by two men who were allegedly soliciting the services of prostitutes, then robbing them at gunpoint.Pressured by law enforcement officials, credit card behemoths Visa, Master Card, and American Express have since ceased doing business with Backpage entirely, leaving bitcoin, and mailing in cash, checks, and money orders as the site’s only payment options.
Taking away the few resources working-class sex workers have to protect themselves shows the true colors of what the anti-trafficking “movement” really is: yet another thinly veiled war on the poor, further empowering law enforcement to target, harass, and criminalize the most vulnerable members of our society.Dance clubs and dive bars may have worked in the '90s, but now, even if you’re out, your phone is a much easier way to find someone to "watch Netflix and chill" with (especially someone you won’t regret tomorrow).When it came time to pay for dinner with my friend and his wife the other night, he said, "No, let us get this." It was a kind gesture.The Green River Killer, who murdered close to 70 sex workers in the Pacific Northwest in the ‘80s and ‘90s, said that he chose sex workers as his victims because he knew he could kill as many of them as he liked without being caught, and he successfully remained at large for 20 years.Two World Health Organization studies from 20 found that most instances of violence experienced by sex workers in New York and Vancouver were not reported to the authorities at all; and if they were, the police rarely, if ever, followed up or investigated further. If I ever feel unsafe at work, I do not go to the police for fear of arrest, ridicule, or worse.
Advertising online is an important tool for many sex workers as it places the barriers of space and time between the worker and the potential client, allowing the sex worker to negotiate from the safety of a phone or computer, rather than on the street.