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Craigslist takes personals sections offline in response to FOSTA (craigslist.org)
947 points by cft 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 596 comments



This is not surprising, but sad. Years ago, i was dragged (i was the only engineer in the local office) into a whitehouse (or maybe it was state department, i can't remember) sponsored working group on online sex trafficking.

The non-profits dedicated to fighting this, while seemingly well-intentioned, were completely and totally unwilling to see any other perspective or try to find shared ground. It was scorched earth approach or nothing. Literally to the tune of "we should be burning down craigslist entirely, and yahoo, google, microsoft, etc should be required to be scanning your search history and reporting you to the police if they suspect you might be sex trafficking".

It was frustrating enough that two of the other participants literally walked out.

The only thing mildly surprising to me here is that it took them ~10 years to get the house to do it.


In defense of the "scorched earth approach or nothing" folks: from my perspective... it's a completely and totally human response to faceless, blameless, unapproachable (from their perspective) perpetrators and facilitators of systematic abuse and exploitation of innocent and vulnerable people.

If you've ever felt frustrated at an IVR system for routine tasks such as banking, restaurant reservations, canceling a gym membership, checking a gift card balance, etc. then you may understand where the "scorched earth" people are coming from when it comes to advocating for dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent victims who have been raped, exploited, and brutalized.

That said, I really wish that I could come forward with a solution to the online sex trafficking problem.


Great, like the trade is going to suddenly end. All they've achieved is 'out of sight, out of mind.' I'm quite annoyed about this, both because it affects numerous friends of mine who are sex workers and are now scrambling to find alternatives to working on the street, where they're far less safe, and on a more pedestrian level because I met my wife on a Craigslist date years ago.

Life is too short to make excuses for stupid behavior.


I've been thinking about this a lot this morning.

I think almost every vice would be less damaging to society if it was in the open. Polite society doesn't want to see sex work or drugs, but they still exist. Hiding them makes things much worse for the people directly involved. It's trafficked kids with broken immigration status who are more scared of the cops than their captors. It's drug addicts who OD on tainted drugs.

Bring it all into the open. Have the government certify providers directly. Crack down on unauthorized middlemen. Tax it. Use the taxes to pay for programs that help people leave when they realize they can have a better life without it.

We need the classic American Market here: free trade enabled by regulation that ensures market quality and protects participants from fraud.

Unfortunately I don't think this is politically possible. It would take a long, well funded campaign. The people who are willing to do that kind of work are motivated by stories of individual tragedy and focus on draconian solutions like this mess of a law. The people who would push for openness can make more money elsewhere, and don't want to make their name "Advocating for drugs & sex."

Frustrating.


I've been thinking about this peripherally for a while, especially the bigger picture when some law is passed, and it seems exceptionally out of touch with the reality, and does more harm than good.

A depressing thought: What if we apply something akin to Occam's Razor? What if the lawmakers want to hurt the people struggling at at the lower rungs of society? To me it feels unlikely it is intentional in most cases, or conscious, but what if on some level, there is a motivation to hurt these people who they feel are inferior? You can easily apply Hanlon's razor here as a counter-argument, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm not attributing malice to any individual actor, but to something more subtle, e.g. unconscious bias.

Maybe subconsciously, there's a force that's trying to destroy people who are for whatever reason unable thrive in society? I guess maybe this force IS society?

Apologies if this is a bit vague and short. I just wanted to share this thought in case it resonated with anyone else. I'll be happy to expand upon this thought if there's interest.


What if the lawmakers want to hurt the people struggling at at the lower rungs of society?

There can be malice, but I think this is mostly akin to the idea of "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" only substitute ignorance for stupidity.

When I was homeless, I certainly ran into malicious behavior rooted in classism, mostly on a particular forum (not HN). But mostly I ran into people who just couldn't really comprehend my situation, so they didn't really know how to be effectively helpful. This can easily turn into a case of "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."


> There can be malice, but I think this is mostly akin to the idea of "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" only substitute ignorance for stupidity.

The history of the "war on drugs" is fraught with racism, there's no need to assume malice - it's quite well documented.

Crusades against other vices like prostitution and alcohol have often had religious or other motivations of "purity" behind them, the same thing with nicotine. One could argue excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are of course genuine public health issues as well, but while the anti-smoking movement started with mostly good intentions you can see the "dirty smoker" sentiment that's developed when raising taxes on tobacco products has been a decent way to generate tax revenue in a way that mostly targets the poor without raising suspicion or ire from the public.

The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, but often those good intentions are extremely thin veils over supposed moral superiority.


It’s interesting to think of the interplay of carbon taxes and economic standing. I think high gasoline taxes would, on balance, benefit society. It would at the same time disproportionately affect the working and commuting poor.


"The state is the institution or complex of institutions which bases itself on the availability of forcible coercion by special agencies of society in order to maintain the dominance of a ruling class, preserve the existing property relations from basic change and keep all other classes in subjection." Hal Draper


Thanks, that’s very succinctly put!

Besides Hal Draper, what authors would you recommend to further explore this thought? I’m educated as a programmer and only beginning to deliberately explore ideas outside of science and engineering.


Just a term you may not have heard before that will lead you towards similar conversations - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence


I have been reading "Strategy: A History" by Lawrence Freedman, and reading the papers and books mentioned in the bibliography as I go.


Take a look at anarcho-capitalism and Murray Rothbard. You can find many works of his on mises.org


Reason and Liberty by Shayne Wissler. It can be downloaded for free online.


Thanks everyone, I'll do some reading! Maybe I'll even follow up in a month or so. No promises.

Replying at the end of the thread because I think that makes the most sense.


It's even worse than that: politicians created over-reaching laws and enforcement, to demographically target political opponents and take away their right to vote.

> "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did." – John Ehrlichman, to Dan Baum for Harper's Magazine in 1994, about President Richard Nixon's war on drugs, declared in 1971.

Meta source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_drugs#20th_century


This is a very powerful quote. It is too bad that it was first published[1] 12 years after Erlichman told it to Baum and after Erlichman died. It sure fits with what I think Nixon was capable of, but I wonder how embellished the actual quote given by Baum so many years after Ehrlichman said it. Would have been nice to have Ehrlichman confirm it but he was already dead when this quote was published.

[1]https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/


I don’t think your assertion is supported by the facts. Your own Wikipedia citation even seems to counter your claim.


I would believe that lots of politicians do want to hurt people at the lower rungs. This is also an explanation of why there is so much opposition to welfare - I want to help 'good people' who lost their jobs and need help, but not those losers who just live forever on welfare and are in "some group I don't like". Same argument will be used against UBI. It's very compelling for a lot of people.


Malice is one possibility, but I think indifference is more likely. Such people are the ants about their feet; they aren't usually going out of their way to step on them, but they are also not particularly troubled if they do.


I think the upperclass mostly "controls" lawmaking decisions for their own interest, and are almost entirely unaware of the condition/state of mind/customs of the lower classes. They don't understand how it works, and because they don't understand they feel superior, so they make decisions on behalf of the lower classes with the intent of nobly showing the masses the way while serving their own interests.

There's also a lot of superior moralizing etc.


There's an interesting theory, which I can't recall the name of, that says that poor people understand the rich because they can empathize with them, but it takes too much energy for the rich to empathize with the poor because there are so many of them and their burden is overwhelming. So the rich don't understand the poor but the poor understand the rich, which explains why we have the laws we have.


It seems more likely that the lower classes can easily empathize with the rich because they want to be the rich, while the converse is not normally true.


It would be interesting if you could explain this a little better, or find the source. Sounds a little vague but I'd like to know more.


http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797610387613

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduce...

I'm not a sociologist, so I won't try to explain it, but that should give you a start. I can't find the article that used my exact explanation, but the rich are consistently shown to be worse at empathizing with others


My friend (middle class) dated a daughter of Staples founder. This was his takeaway too: while her father sort of understood ordinary people, the daughter already did not.


> what if on some level, there is a motivation to hurt these people who they feel are inferior?

I think this insightful, and I suggest there is a motivation to hurt other people in general - but it's only feasible to do so when those others are relatively powerless. Hence the targeting of the defenseless.

This is not a popular opinion in the modern age, as it's become dogma that "all men are brothers". However from an evolutionary perspective, a tendency to get pleasure from causing pain (sadism) is a vital component in the kind of psychological makeup which thrives in a Darwinian world.

We shouldn't justify this tendency but recognize it and learn to work around it (perhaps by playing contact sports, for example).


Follow the money. Either the hurt being inflicted on the helpless leads to more votes or business opportunities for cronies.

The "kick the helpless" is because they helpless can't fight back.


Might I suggest an introduction course to political science? Additionally consider learning legal history and contemporary things. The law isn’t as Ill considered as most techies believe, and also recognizes the imperfections of the human system it is. There are just no better options.

Unfortunately technology isn’t infaliable either and the result of thinking it is, is the refusal to fix problems because they “can’t happen”.


I don't think it is so much wanting to hurt people. It's more that they see the poor as barely people, and see the Internet as a seething crowded marketplace where the poor bustle and jostle against each other, breathing each others air, grinding out their meager existences. And if left to their own devices, they will first destroy the pillars of society (major industry) and then themselves. This is a tremendously large topic, but the underlying rabid anti-sex motives underlying this bill and the total lack of caring about how it will furthermore expunge human sexual expression from the Internet goes back to the Industrial Revolution. There was arguably reason for it back then. But no more. It survives purely out of a wrongheaded blind sense of 'denial is virtue, satisfaction is sin'.


"What if the lawmakers want to hurt the people struggling at at the lower rungs of society? To me it feels unlikely it is intentional in most cases, or conscious, but what if on some level, there is a motivation to hurt these people who they feel are inferior?"

Doubtful. It's not that they don't want to help them, but more that there's simply not much government can do.

Consider drug addicts. One of my good friends died of an overdose last year, and all of his friends including myself had tried for years to get him to quit. No luck. If someone's closest friends can't help them, what makes us think the government will be anymore effective?

In fact the government has tried through the "war on drugs". You can disagree with the means of the war, but the intent was to help society and the people most vulnerable in society by eliminating drugs through force.


> You can disagree with the means of the war, but the intent was to help society and the people most vulnerable in society by eliminating drugs through force.

Ha, ha, no it wasn't. It was started by Republicans to get people angry at the hippies and black people. Read this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nixon-aide-war-drug...

The salient quote is: "“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

A true "war on drugs" would seek to increase access to rehabilitation and counselors, while identifying and working to reduce the causes of addiction. Any time a lawmakers seeks to make something punishable by jail time, he is seeking to hurt someone he disagrees with. (There are obvious exceptions, like murder, theft, etc).


Sure that may have been one individual's motivation for the plan, but the public and subsequent governments thought it was a the best way to prevent drugs from infecting society.

When lawmakers seek to punish someone, they aren't doing it because they relish the suffering of the other person, but because they hope that person's pain will dissuade others from committing those same crimes.


>lawmakers seek to punish someone, they aren't doing it because they relish the suffering of the other person, but because they hope that person's pain will dissuade others from committing those same crimes

Unfortunately this belief is completely unfounded in reality. I really wish this were the case, but we have mountains of evidence on how to help people fight addiction, poverty, get out of the criminal cycle, etc. And that's all ignored in favor of punishment.


Are theft and murder so obvious?

Obviously murder is among the greatest tragedies, but often it's a product of circumstance. Theft especially so


Really? A product of circumstance? How so?


A product of circumstance in the sense that murders and theft often occur in low income, low education areas. It doesn't excuse the behavior, but it does shine a light in a place we can make drastic improvements.


Little Bobbie Brown observes a 'rat' try out his brand new cement shoes. One of the boss' hired help sees Bobbie in the bushes, and, in accordance with the boss' desire for no witnesses, moves to kill Bobbie


> Consider drug addicts. One of my good friends died of an overdose last year, and all of his friends including myself had tried for years to get him to quit. No luck. If someone's closest friends can't help them, what makes us think the government will be anymore effective?

The government's much greater resources and number of full-time professionals at its disposal is one reason to think they might be able to do things an addict's friend could not.


Almost every major show on Netflix and other media companies is filled with Nudity. It’s like America loves butts, boobs and bullets.

I don’t get why prostitution is not legalized when more states have weed legalized.

I spent quite a bit of time in Australia, where it is legalized. There was a time when Brothels advertised in newspapers in lesser read sections.

I’m glad that America is not the rest of the world, because it sure has some weird culture. They would rather have easier access to guns than sex.

Not that I support prostitution. Every man and woman for themselves. I do support their right to live their lives as they wish if they aren’t interfering with others’ lives.


I'm in favour of careful legalisation.

The submitted article is talking about a reaction to the behaviour of one publication who were openly allowing people to advertise kidnapped drugged children for sex; and then when they took a minimal step back from that the publisher was giving advice to advertisers about how to create an ad to sell drugged kidnapped children for sex without hitting the publications new filters.

Once these children were rescued they were telling the publisher that some of these ads contained images of them; that they had been kidnapped, drugged, and repeatedly raped; and that they'd like the images taken down and preferably for the ads to be taken down. That publisher refused.

One of the problems of decriminalisation of buying and selling sex work is that someone who wants to fuck a 14 year old child isn't going to use the service a 25 year old provides, so legalisation has limited usefulness to prevent the kidnap and drugging of children.


I am unaware of this behavior by Craigslist. I want to believe that people are taken seriously when they alert authorities to crimes against them. The #MeToo movement suggests this doesn’t happen as readily as I would like.

> but someone will still want to fuck 14 year olds

This is still wrong, we can still criminalize it. That’s fine. We can still give a lot of other sex workers way more safety and legitimacy than they have now. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

There could be secondary effects that help the 14 year olds. (1) Most Johns would prefer the legal adult market, so that’s where the money will be. (2) There would be a bigger stigma to the illegal stuff because there are good legal alternatives, creating s higher barrier to entry. (3) institutions would develop to support sec workers, and they’d have resources and visibility to help the minors, more than exists now.

The point is we can decriminalize/ legalize a LOT more than we do now, and have a net positive impact.


While I agree with your list of things that would help there is a significant problem I've been thinking about with respect to everything that's been happening lately. There is no "government" that does anything, its all people. The quality of people we have making up our (where FOSTA/SESTA is) government are not the type of people that at the end of the day could work with anyone like drug dealers or sex workers. Then you have the problem of the types of people that could work with drug dealers and sex workers may have more fluid ethics that could be corrupted in some ways. For example, if everyone could be like Violet Blue that would be one thing. But I could imagine some less than savory person applying for the job but with the intent to look the other way for some payback. I think we really need to stop thinking about the problems as if there is some uncorruptable benevolent "government" that is going to help us. And start think about systems that are realistically run by fallible people but have checks and balances in place to remove corruption. Like maybe the "terrible" government is responsible for punishing only? I don't know how to solve the problems honestly, just seems like we are looking where the light is rather than where we lost our keys (maybe down the sewer).


This is the corruption trap that you see in narco-regimes and countries where government institutions are being built or rebuilt.

If X personal compensation exists for corrupt behavior, and < X is the reward for serving legal government institutions correctly, then how do you make government function?

If you prosecute people for corrupt behavior, then your prosecutors and justice system now have to make the same decision.

Ultimately, rule of law only exists because of tradition and a sufficiently widespread support of it.


Bring it all into the open. Have the government certify providers directly. Crack down on unauthorized middlemen. Tax it.

I don't agree. Decriminalization is a better approach than legalization and regulation. If it is decriminalized, then victims don't have to live in fear of the police. Legalization and regulation often makes things worse, not better.


I’m open to decriminalization. There’s a spectrum between criminality and unrestricted markets. I think we’re way to far towards the criminality side of that spectrum. We can start decriminalizing now, open up more if it appears to work.

Whatever policy we choose, it should have a clear goal and be evaluated against how well t achieves that goal. “Fewer deaths by tainted drugs” and “fewer sex workers living with abuse” is a good place to start. I think decriminalization work further both of those goals.


If it is decriminalized, then victims don't have to live in fear of the police.

Isn't this the same as with legalization?

Legalization and regulation often makes things worse, not better.

Do you have examples of this?


No, they aren't the same. Unfortunately, googling decriminalization vs legalization gets me articles that state the exact opposite of my understanding. As I understand it, decriminalization means making no law against it. Legalization means making laws about it that boil down to regulation. Thus, decriminalization is more free.

This article seems to be generally in line with my understanding:

http://time.com/3005687/what-the-swedish-model-gets-wrong-ab...

Example of making it worse: From what I gather, prostitution in Las Vegas is mostly run by the mafia and legalization has not led to women being free to be their own boss, set their own hours, etc. Legalization of prostitution often means sex workers are subjected to a lot of rules and regulations such that it becomes akin to wage slavery rather than freedom to pursue work independently like a small business owner.

I will suggest Obamacare as another example of regulation making things worse. I'm quite poor and being hit with harsh financial penalties on my taxes this year for failing to have full coverage for all of last year. Prior to Obamacare, I could just forego having healthcare and the government did not get all up in my business about why I did that and whether or not I was allowed to do that, etc.

My support of decriminalization of prostitution comes from having read Working: My Life as a Prostitute by Dolores French. Prior to becoming a prostitute, she was a political activist.


The reason you get those google results is because your understanding is not consistent with how other people use the words. Your suggested usage is reasonable, but it's not the usage that is common, and I suggest that you change your understanding.

Legalization has always meant "making it legal", which in most societies means "removing laws that make it illegal" (though it might mean something different in North Korea, if you see what I mean).

Decriminalization is a wishy-washier idea, that includes lightening or removing criminal penalties, while potentially keeping other penalities. For example, changing indictable offenses to non-indictable offenses (in the U.S. that'd be roughly equivalent to changing felonies to misdemeanours).

Prostitution should be legalized, not merely have the penalties lightened. And that alone is not sufficient; legal regimes that legalize the actual act of sex-for-money, but still force most prostitutes to hide from the cops (I'm looking at Canadian law, here) are still inadequate, because such regimes still victimize sex workers (consensual or otherwise). It's simply a human rights issue.

I also think it's clear that some degree of regulation is desirable, but I think that reasonable people can disagree on this.


My understanding of the difference is rooted in the opinions of Dolores French who was a sex worker and political activist. She advocated for decriminalization, not legalization, because it was more beneficial to sex workers. I find some articles that fit with that framework and some that don't.

I don't think it's just me. It's a little more complicated than that.

I do try to be mindful that the words get used inconsistently and I do try to make a point of clarifying my intended meaning. I'm human and I don't always remember that this is an ongoing issue.


[flagged]


I have provided both a link to an article that communicates my understanding of the topic as well as cited the original source where I got the info, plus stated as clearly as I can that googling it may lead to additional confusion because articles on the topic are contradictory. Some agree with my understanding. Some say the opposite.

I have no idea whatsoever why that would be reason for you to turn this into a personal attack and justification for apparently your personal frustration with me. My understanding is you are British. You could more charitably chalk up any communication difficulties between us to cultural differences and to being "separated by the same language."


I'm with you. This is also basically the Portugal approach to drug control, which appears to be working. You think we would have learned with the experience from Prohibition to inform us... Guess not.


> I think almost every vice would be less damaging to society if it was in the open. Polite society doesn't want to see sex work or drugs, but they still exist. Hiding them makes things much worse for the people directly involved.

I understand what you're saying. However, compare sex work to slavery (which it often is). Nobody wants to be a slave. Some desperate people might agree to be enslaved to pay off a debt.

You could say that if someone agrees to be enslaved, it's OK. But I'd argue that removing certain choices promotes freedom. If slavery is illegal, a person found with slaves can't force the slaves to say they agreed to this arrangement; the arrangement itself is illegal and the slave holder is always in the wrong.

I think treating prostitution the same way makes sense. People are free to sleep with whom they choose, but when it's done for money, it's far too easy for exploitation to occur. If we say it's always illegal, we remove the veneer of respectability that enables one person to exploit another "by agreement".

Note that in both cases we should target the exploiter and not the victim. The point isn't "you can't be a slave", but "you can't enslave anyone."


I would argue that the sea between "sex slavery" aaaand "sex worker" is just as vast as that between professional engineer and enslaved engineer. Again, polite society would have you think otherwise...


Please can we call sex workers pleasure technicians? A pleasure engineer should require a degree ...


By saying that a person can't voluntarily agree to become a slave, you are saying that you, not they, have the right to determine what happens to them. That is the essence of slavery right there. By taking away their choice you are claiming ownership over them. You haven't eliminated slavery at all; you've just assumed the role of slave-owner yourself "for their own good", much as other slave owners throughout history have justified their actions by claiming that their slaves would be incapable of managing on their own as free individuals.


> By saying that a person can't voluntarily agree to become a slave, you are saying that you, not they, have the right to determine what happens to them. That is the essence of slavery right there

I think you're being hyperbolic.

It is not possible for all people to have all freedoms. My freedom to go where I want is limited by your freedom to decide who comes on your property. Like it or not, we have to collectively draw boundaries that restrict some freedoms in order to preserve others.

Some of these tradeoffs are tricky. This one isn't. If large numbers of people start protesting their inability to become slaves, I'll reconsider. Meanwhile, large numbers of people are currently being forced into slavery - 20.9 million, by one estimate. https://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today

Restricting the rights of some small number of hypothetical would-be slaves in order to protect the rights of large numbers of real people in forced bondage is clearly a worthwhile tradeoff.


> It is not possible for all people to have all freedoms. My freedom to go where I want is limited by your freedom to decide who comes on your property.

See, this is the sort of contradiction inherent in the "positive rights" worldview. Positive "rights" are always in conflict, which is very convenient when you're looking for an excuse to pick and choose which rights other people have and not very useful as a framework for a stable society.

Negative rights, on the other hand, never conflict; there is really only one fundamental right, which is self-ownership: the exclusive right to decide how yourself, and by extension your property, will be used. The only actions are out of bounds are those which would infringe on others' rights of self-ownership. From this you can infer other rights like the freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to privacy, and the right not to be enslaved against your will, and together with others you can cooperate to provide each other with things which, while desirable, are not rights, such as food, shelter, defense, gainful employment, and healthcare.

> Meanwhile, large numbers of people are currently being forced into slavery - 20.9 million, by one estimate.

And I agree that this is wrong. The key difference is that these people were forced into slavery—it wasn't their choice. Obviously it's not a very attractive option under any circumstance, but one can easily imagine situations where the alternative might be worse. If you need what someone else can provide, and have nothing else of sufficient value to barter for it, giving up your freedom might be a price you'd be willing to pay. No one else should presume to take that option from you.

> Restricting the rights of some small number of hypothetical would-be slaves in order to protect the rights of large numbers of real people in forced bondage is clearly a worthwhile tradeoff.

Putting aside the fact that it isn't your right which you're trading away, and consequently that this isn't your decision to make, it doesn't actually protect anyone. A person who was coerced into such a situation could simply say so, forcing the other party to prove that they had agreed to it in exchange for some form of consideration.


> . People are free to sleep with whom they choose, but when it's done for money, it's far too easy for exploitation to occur. If we say it's always illegal, we remove the veneer of respectability that enables one person to exploit another "by agreement".

That logic makes pornography illegal.


Totally. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sunlight_is_the_best_disinfec...


Most US sex workers fled CL and use Instagram now or any chat program that provides location distances. In other countries Weechat is the preferred method to find companions for hire. You'll also find countless escort ads in any adult social media hookup site like say, Fetlife or Adult Friend Finder.

A warning to anybody thinking of building a gigantic illegal escort listing service or agency and hosting it in Russia or via Tor, imagine the massive effort to come after you in hopes they discover political rivals have been using your service.


This was interesting to me, so I researched a little. Apparently, the real volume of transactions has moved to https://eccie.net (NSFW) in the US. As usual, the internet routes around censorship.


> Great, like the trade is going to suddenly end. All they've achieved is 'out of sight, out of mind.'

I had the same reaction to this. Shutting down one avenue, just pushes these people back into the shadows where its going to be a LOT harder to track down and find them. With CL being up, it was public, traceable and arrests could be made discretely and out of public view.


Nothing should be demonized. Anything that hinders humanity should be regulated and monitored, proportional to the threat. That is all that is needed.

Out of sight and out of mind enables thriving dark markets. To eliminate dark markets, the open market must be all inclusive. There needs to be only one market.

For darker material, we need more aggressive inclusion tactics.

For example, pedophilia should be considered an extremely dangerous disease. Imagine if we treated Ebola or AIDS as a crime. No one would ever be protected or cured (or neutralized), and carriers would be hiding among us.


Well no we can't make the sex trade disappear, but we can certainly make it more difficult and by extension less prevalent.

While I agree that the current measure is overblown, I do understand where the people behind the legislation are coming from.


It’s SJW collective punishment mentality. Because something can be used for terrorism, like cars, ban all cars.


That kind of mentality tends to come from reactionary conservatives in my experience.


> Life is too short to make excuses for stupid behavior.

Like meeting strangers on the internet and buying/selling sex for money? If it was legal, it could be better regulated, and they could operate with more safety...but it's not legal. While I'm in favor of decriminalizing adults engaging in adult behavior, I don't believe anyone goes into selling sex with a healthy attitude towards sex. They're typically victims of sexual abuse at a young age, which has warped their perspective, leading them to believe that their biggest value is to sell their bodies for sex.


Let me provide a few questions on prostitution:

Readers of HN

1. Would you move to Nevada to work in your spare time as a legal prostitute? It's all the benefits of being an Uber driver, but with much better per-hour pay, no vehicle lease, and relatively no upkeep costs. You get to chose the clients you service, but you have service. To offset the pain of moving, in addition to the money you make as a prostitute, you also get a sizable pay-raise for your day job.

2. Do we start to encourage women to move to Nevada to work as prostitutes, with campaigns similar to STEAM campaigns? Not everyone can get a six-figure tech job, so the money and self sufficiency that affords is a good alternative to a low-paying entry-level position.

3. Your teenage child tells you they have decided to be a prostitute to save-for and pay for college. You've put away enough money for them, but they refuse to take it, and instead want to earn their way. Do you encourage them? What if you didn't have any money saved up? Would you support their decision?

My point of view isn't to demonize those who have gone into prostitution now, in the past, or in the future, but recognize that it's not a choice that pretty much any of us would make for ourselves, nor the ones we care about.


1. My day job (as a programmer in Silicon Valley) already pays a lot, and I expect the pay to increase over time, but if the ratio of [prostitution pay] to [day job pay] was as high as it is for most people, then, yes, I think it'd make sense to do that.

2. If a whole lot of them did that, then I expect the price would drop a great deal, so such a campaign might be dishonest—well, actually, in some respects that is like a stereotype of a STEM campaign, with some companies bemoaning how hard it is to find talent while not raising their low wages. Other than that concern, yeah, I'd be happy with such a campaign.

3. I don't have children of my own yet, but I have sisters and a niece and female friends, so I will imagine them in that situation. I would have two concerns: STDs and hard drug use. For the first, I would look up some statistics—e.g. flying on a plane feels a little viscerally unsafe, but in practice it is pretty safe—and the practices of the Nevada brothel in question, and let's say that I'd conclude the STD risk was negligible. For the second, I would make certain that my child (a) knew about the risks of various drugs, (b) was prepared to deal with pressure to take drugs, and (c) knew that she could leave at any time and come back home.

After those concerns were addressed, yes, I would consider it an interesting experience for my child to have. Lucrative, get to see a bunch of people in an unusual set of circumstances, probably get practice in negotiation and in reading people, etc.


You could use the same argument against anything that groups of people consider "immoral".

Alterations of the position:

"While I'm in favor of people engaging in worship, I don't think anybody worships Mohammad with a healthy attitude towards the lord. They're typically victims of religious indoctrination at a young age, which has warped their perception, leading them to believe in a false god"

"While I'm in favor of people having freedom, I don't think anybody uses narcotics with a healthy attitude towards their health. They're typically victims of immoral liberal households at a young age, which has warped their perception, leading them to believe that drugs are OK"

Basically, you're making a moral decision and saying that anybody that ends up making a contrary decision for themselves must be damaged due to their upbringing.


What morale decision am I making?


My point of view isn't to demonize those who have gone into prostitution now, in the past, or in the future, but recognize that it's not a choice that pretty much any of us would make for ourselves, nor the ones we care about.

There is a thin line between saying that very few people would make a choice, and very few people should make a choice. You are correctly asserting that you said "would" not "should", but others are correctly pushing back and saying that it is a common rhetorical technique to say one when actually meaning the other. If you meant what you said in a non-normative manner, you may need to emphasize this fact to prevent the more common reading.

Separately, I'm sure some people question whether you are correct that few would choose this lifestyle, and if so, why this would be. Personally, I think you are right that few would choose to work as prostitutes but that the reason is the societal stigma associated with sex work. I don't know how popular the choice would be if the stigma would be removed and the pay remained high. You seem to be asserting that it would remain extremely unpopular, but I'm not sure that's correct.


Even if the stigma were removed, I think the years of human evolution which encourages men and women to pair-wise mate for life would make it hard on an emotional level for more people to provide sex as a service. Outside of our biological needs, the health risks would be difficult to manage as well. Perhaps if technology caught up and allowed for an immediate STD screening that would mitigate those risks significantly, and/or if every possible STD was treatable, then sure. There would still be the physical/sexual assault risks to contend with.


That belief isn’t just something they got from nowhere. Your contempt for their choices is bizarre and really offensive.

If they have a better option, perhaps you could illustrate what that might be. Perhaps grab a coding job? Or waitressing, with all the benefits and pay that comes with (and sexual harassment with no recourse, not much #metoo for underpaid waitresses)?

Or, are you offering a job?


What benefits come with being a prostitute? If you're worried about sexual harassment with no recourse, picking a profession with astronomically higher risk of sexual violence would be the last choice any rational person would make. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24625169

It's not comtempt; I just haven't fooled myself into thinking that prostitution isn't a victimless crime.

You've built a strawman for my argument; I'm not showing contempt for the choice of picking prostitution; but I am saying that in the US engaging in it, as a seller or as a buyer constitutes being stupid.

The increase risk of violence, sexual or otherwise, the risk to your families health, the risk to your own health, the risk to your career. All reasons why it's stupid.

I believe decriminalizing prostitution would reduce the risks--but regardless, those who go into prostitution will still be exploited, regardless of it's legal status.

If it were decriminalized (and remove it's social stigma) I don't see more people becoming prostitutes.


> I just haven't fooled myself into thinking that prostitution isn't a victimless crime

Parser error: maximum number of negations exceeded.


>While I'm in favor of decriminalizing adults engaging in adult behavior, I don't believe anyone goes into selling sex with a healthy attitude towards sex. They're typically victims of sexual abuse at a young age, which has warped their perspective, leading them to believe that their biggest value is to sell their bodies for sex.

Source?

Also, healthy attitude? What's that and who exactly defined it?



Interesting links, thanks. From the Mental Help article:

> the major concern about [Johns] is not so much that they pay for sex but that they seem blind to the plight of these women. They convince themselves that prostitution is a choice and that none of the women they see are exploited.

There’s a lot of exploitation in our society, and I don’t like any of it. Simple example: when I go to a restaurant, it’s very possible that the person serving my food works 2-3 jobs and still can’t afford health care. I hate that. I would like to be confident that everyone I meet was able to get basic necessities like healthcare.

Legalizing prostitution would open the door to reducing exploitation. Does the prostitute have a state issued sex worker ID? Are you paying at least the state-mandated minimum? Did you pay via a certified escrow service that has strict requirements to watch for common signs of abuse? Then no worries, you’re probably not supporting exploitation.

Compare that to what we have now, which is a total lack of transparency. Demand for sex is not going away. We need to prevent it from causing exploitation by creating a safe, legal option.


My counter, if everyone had basic necessities met like health care, and universal basic income, would they choose to work as prostitutes?


Perhaps a certain kind of psychologist.

Psychologists are not a monolithic block, and many would say that an individual's choice to pursue sex work could be "healthy" as long as it isn't causing them emotional distress or preventing them from living a fulfilling life.


The "scorched earth" approach only gets support when the nature and scope of the issues are distorted. What are the real issues in play?

One is prostitution, a form of sex work which is illegal in most of the United States. The American public have varying feelings about its legal status, how enforcement should be carried out, etc. Public opinion doesn't support measures which endanger sex workers (which FOSTA does), because they're already an at-risk group.

A separate issue is human trafficking, which is moving people across borders for the purpose of slavery/forced labor, including sex slavery. Public opinion is rightly massively against slavery in any form.

What I would like to know is, how much slavery was taking place through the Craigslist personals section? How much of it goes on in America? Can we get some real data injected into this discussion about the nature and the extent of actual forced sex labor? Scorched earth tactics might be appropriate if America has developed a serious slavery problem (again), but they need to be justified with facts.

I've run across people who want to take a scorched earth approach to eradicating prostitution (which will not work any more than the war on drugs did). They refer to all prostitution as trafficking in order to conflate the two issues, mislead the public and build support for their radical policies. There is also a class of people who have used FOSTA as an opportunity to expand government power. Neither of these agendas reflect public opinion.


> A separate issue is human trafficking, which is moving people across borders for the purpose of slavery/forced labor, including sex slavery. Public opinion is rightly massively against slavery in any form.

The thing is, while some people see it as a separate issue, there is a very common opinion (deliberately fostered by the anti-prostitution lobby) that prostitution is inherently and inalterably human trafficking, and invocation of the term "human trafficking" is now very commonly used as a cover for policies that are directed generally against prostitution, and not at either the place where human trafficking overlaps with prostitution and not at human trafficking unconnected to prostitution.


> How much of it goes on in America? Can we get some real data injected into this discussion about the nature and the extent of actual forced sex labor? Scorched earth tactics might be appropriate if America has developed a serious slavery problem (again), but they need to be justified with facts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_trafficking_in_the_United_...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Unite...


Thanks for the links! These Wikipedia articles demonstrate my point that the facts and data are very weak in the trafficking discussion, and that data is often misrepresented to exaggerate the size of the problem.

- The sex trafficking article states that in 2001 the State Department estimated 50k-100k were trafficked into the US -- this estimate was for both genders but the article erroneously states it is women only.

- Either way, by 2004 the State Department reduced its estimate to 14,500-17,500 trafficked into the US annually for all genders and purposes.

- According to the Washington Post, between 2000-2007 the government had identified 1,362 total victims of human trafficking brought into the United States. The percentage of these related to sex is not mentioned.

- The human trafficking article states that the Global Slavery Index estimated 57,700 people were trafficked into the US in 2016. This statement is also erroneous. The GSI's estimate was for the number of people in some form of "modern slavery," which by their definition includes certain kinds of prison labor among other things, and is unrelated to whether they were trafficked.

- The article also doesn't mention that the GSI arrived at 57,700 by designating a tier of the least enslaved countries studied and estimating the number of modern slaves at 0.018% of the population. The same formula is used for Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, etc. I'm not trying to detract from the importance of the issue of modern slavery but mentioning the 57k out of context seems a bit misleading, the US is literally among the best in the world in this area and the number is so rough that it could be off by tens of thousands. And again, it has nothing to do with trafficking, let alone sex trafficking!)

Both the ACLU and EFF oppose FOSTA on the grounds that it violates both human and civil rights. Why aren't we doing better studies and getting better data about the problem it purports to solve?


Why aren't we doing better studies and getting better data about the problem it purports to solve?

I'll probably get downvotes for this, but the Republican leadership is uninterested in facts. They are only interested in their agenda, and if facts get in the way, they will ignore them. It got a lot worse when Newt Gingrich took the reigns in Congress in the 90's. Since Obama was elected, it's gone into hyperdrive. They fucking hated that man.


Everyone is only interested in their agenda in politics, calling for additional research just happens to sometimes further a side's agenda. As of right now, the Democrats are the one's who want additional research in most situations, but that doesn't mean they want more research universally, and when studies have come back negatively (as they sometimes do), they are disregarded.

That said, there does seem to be an overall lack of trust in the scientific method among the political right, the reasons behind which being a bit more complicated than political efficacy.


Your comment brings to mind this article: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-blathering-superego-...!

I recommend giving it a read if you'd like your attitude challenged.


Actually prostitution is legal in Nevada (but not in the big cities). So even that isn't so clear cut.


Great point, I edited my comment to reflect this.


> which is moving people across borders

That's only one definition. Other countries have broader definitions.


> Public opinion is rightly massively against slavery in any form.

Slavery is still legal in the USA according to the 13th Amendment.


Estimated 57,700 slaves in the United States according to Global Slavery Index [0]. Here is a related WP article[1].

[0] https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/index/

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/10/17...


That number is pretending to be accurate the error bars are rediculus to have 3 digits.


Yeah it seems too odd that the population percentage is 0.018% in so many countries.


From safety1st's excellent comment:

"- The article also doesn't mention that the GSI arrived at 57,700 by designating a tier of the least enslaved countries studied and estimating the number of modern slaves at 0.018% of the population. The same formula is used for Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, etc. I'm not trying to detract from the importance of the issue of modern slavery but mentioning the 57k out of context seems a bit misleading, the US is literally among the best in the world in this area and the number is so rough that it could be off by tens of thousands. And again, it has nothing to do with trafficking, let alone sex trafficking!)"


The scorched earth mentality says that if you're not in favor of gun-banning, you're pro-murder. If you're not in favor of policing all of your user-generated content instantaneously and at significant cost, then you are pro-childporn and pro-child-sexual-exploitation. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The form of this is a false equivalency (or perhaps the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition): If you are pro-<activity that is only rarely engaged in by bad actors>, then you are pro-<activity that is ONLY done by bad actors>

The upshot of this will be ZERO startups that deal in user-generated content simply because they cannot afford the manpower or the liability. Which is a pretty bad consequence, IMHO.

This also creates a law open to abuse: If you have a corporate enemy that permits user-generated content, simply anonymously post some objectionable content to their site, take a screenshot, and then alert the authorities with the URL and screenshot. It's like SWATting, except on a whole 'nother level!

Is Giphy really to blame in this fiasco? How are they somehow more to blame than the person who actually posted this? (as they would be, after this law goes into effect) https://mashable.com/2018/03/10/snapchat-instagram-giphy-rac...


And to make the system better they just took the system offline.

The next Craigs list will be on Tor and will have a child prostitute section.

Congratulations on making things worse.


Actually .onion prostitution services exist already and have for a long time. There was at least one that was very popular around 5 years ago, but I don't remember the name.

But you are absolutely right, this is pushing sex workers further underground and therefore making their lives more dangerous.


And now you'll have the "innocent" john sorting through ads selling any number of illegal offerings, because he will have to use the TOR version now.

Can't help but think this will be a boon for those in the business of sex trafficking.


Would it be surprising to say that trading in this might include Bitcoin?


It would: Monero is the de facto standard currency in the deep web nowadays, not bitcoin.


About as surprising as noticing that e.g. moving some trade to Switzerland involves increased use of Swiss franc.


I'd imagine they would use Monero or Zcash nowadays since those are proven fairly more anonymized. Bitcoin is wholly public so all it takes is one identifiable wallet to start profiling addresses they interact with.


You used to be able to tumble the bitcoins but cant realistically do it anymore due to high fees.


By Bitcoin I meant Blockchain based money.


Then you should say that or “cryptocurrency”


That I agree. But I couldn't edit it later on.


Unless they send you suitcase with human being and they don't expect them to get back with cash, then yes, it would be surprising.


But if people are content to swat away a problem until they can't see it anymore, despite that the ignored causes continues to generate more misery, then it's hard to be sympathetic to that defensible position. Especially since a lot of people just lost access to romantic venues because a minority of users make a living through sex.


> because a minority of users make a living through sex. //

So you deny there is trafficking of people as sex slaves? Or that particular sites enable it? Or?


I think the point is: imagine government banned bars, because some percentage of rapes involve perpetrators stalking victims in bars and getting them drunk.


Perhaps more directly - if we're trying to stop sex trafficking by shutting down the places where victims meet clients, we're going to have to ban streets.


Or why can't we ban churches because pastors can use them to rape or molest church members?


Most monetary transactions involving victims of sex slaves involve money, should we remove it too?

He's saying that this affects far more legitimate users than sex traffickers by multiple orders of magnitude, while at the same time not preventing sex trafficking from taking place anyway.


No, no, we don't ban money, we just move to systems where the government gets to monitor all your financial transactions in real time and they get to selectively block those they don't find morally wholesome.


>>I really wish that I could come forward with a solution to the online sex trafficking problem.

Step 1. End Prohibition of Sex Work

Step 2. Stop Diverting Police Resources to enforcing laws on what consenting Adults do on their own time (both Prostitution and Drugs)

Step 3. Stop Criminalizing Speech driving to further and further under ground were it is no longer tracable at all

The "scorched earth" groups are in no way protecting victims, in fact they are making it WORSE by driving people to more shady platforms deep deep under ground, where law enforcement will be less likely to find information or victims.


> Step 1. End Prohibition of Sex Work

All you have to do is study the laws of prostitution elsewhere in the world to understand that they have little to no influence on sex trafficking. Prostitution is legal, explicit, and even taxed in the Netherlands, but sex trafficking remains such a major problem that some large cities, like Utrecht, have outlawed prostitution locally to combat the issue.


It may not end sex trafficking but legalising prostitution lowers harm levels on workers, but allowing them to seek medical care and police protection without risk of incarceration. There is no down-side to legalisation as many would say for drugs, as it allows problems to have legal solutions.


I'm not in disagreement with you about legalization of prostitution in general, but with regards specifically to sex trafficking, there is much evidence from several countries that legalization actually makes sex trafficking worse -- most likely due to increased demand for a service anyone can enjoy legally.


Could you cite some of this evidence?


The issue comes up quite often in the local papers here in the Netherlands. Some other commenters here have pointed to some other reports from other countries.


You get those same benefits if you keep buying sex illegal but decriminalise selling.


Some workers of the business in the Netherlands argue that the end of prohibition worsened conditions.


I would be very interested to see some studies on Europe’s experiments with vice decriminalization. Prostitution in the Netherlands and Drugs in Portugal seem to be the main ones.

Link?


I assume things got worse because cowardly assholes are now allowed to treat the prostitutes disrespectfully. Before, the assholes that were afraid of the law wouldn't risk going to a prostitute. Now that the law won't hurt them, they go and are demanding disrespectful assholes. Just a guess.

Edit: law abiding != kind, respectful, or moral


Implying that there is some uptick in people who are "allowed to treat the prostitutes disrespectfully" in well-regulated societies is intellectually disingenuous. To quote @Illniyar: "Legalization is far from perfect but abuse in Nevada brothels is much lower than as street walkers."

Assumptions are...well, you know the saying.


Abuse in a brothel involves an idiot, a prostitute and a lot of other people (possibly including bouncers), while abuse of a street walker involves only an idiot, a prostitute and a lonely place. Guess what's easier to perpetrate, regardless of legality.


>worsened conditions

Worsened conditions is quite vague, I went down the line that it covered the attitudes of customers, not necessarily translated it mean physical (or extreme verbal) abuse. The likelihood of customers that [would] make derogatory comments post encounter goes up. Not necessarily the % or ratio but the actual number. For example: pre legalization a prostitute saw 10 clients a day, 10%, one, of them would say "that wasn't worth it" to the prostitute after services were rendered. Post legalization that prostitute might have 30 clients a day, 10%, three, say exhibit the same behavior. While the ratio is the same the hard number of negative feedback is 3 times greater. And psychologically negative feedback has much more weight that positive feedback which can weigh on an person's self-confidence and feeling of self-worth.


Fair enough. Thank you for the reply and insight.

My point is, there are more people now openly able and willing to approach prostitutes who think "shut up and do what I say because I'm paying you [you low life worthless being who has to sell you body to make a living]". I'm not saying all people who use or are okay with prostitution think this, just that the supply of people who think this and act this way now find themselves able to openly go to prostitutes (where as the law, and fear of it, kept these assholes from using prostitutes before).


> My point is, there are more people now openly able and willing to approach prostitutes who think "shut up and do what I say because I'm paying you [you low life worthless being who has to sell you body to make a living]".

What does this have to do with the discussion at hand? Between this comment and the one in which you attempted to feign credibility by making up a series of numbers that had no reference to back them, you’re not really saying much.

I could similarly argue that legalized food service increases a server’s exposure to people who think that they are worthless because they have to serve food for a living. If your point is that some percentage of people are assholes who look down on others and that more people means more assholes overall, then this is already well understood. How this clarifies the topic at hand or in any way furthers the discussion is missing.


>What does this have to do with the discussion at hand?

Someone said they heard legalization made conditions worse.

I was merely offering up an opinion of why that might be, if true.

Where are "closet" rude and mean people more likely to make degrading and derogatory comments? In public in front of others where their socially unacceptable behavior (food service employees) would be exposed? Or behind closed doors with a single individual where they can freely say shit making the other feel small and themselves feel big?

Sorry, I forgot anecdotes, metaphors, and hypotheses are not allowed on HN.

I'm truly sorry I wasn't able to effectively and clearly communicate how the dots connect.


It got worse because no one wants to be a prostitute, and there has always been a strong coercive element to women entering that profession. When you legalize, you increase demand while the supply is still capped, so coercion rises to compensate.


>It got worse because no one wants to be a prostitute, and there has always been a strong coercive element to women entering that profession.

it is factually wrong that "no one wants", it would be more accurate to say "very few"

But this also holds true for many occupations, very few people want to be toilet cleaners, or pick up trash, or really work at all. So the same "coercive element" could be said (and has been said) to drive people to enter any field of employment making all work for wages "coercive" by nature.


this presumes 'coercive' is a boolean variable..


Where does the coercion appear? Shouldn’t wages just go up?


Interesting. Thank you for replying.


> Step 2. Stop Diverting Police Resources to enforcing laws > on what consenting Adults do on their own time (both > Prostitution and Drugs)

But society has rules, it's the grey areas that are always going to be in contention.

I'm sure you want the police and laws there to protect children from sexual exploitation.

The same with drugs, you don't want smack and cocaine being sold in Boots.

So there has to be a law, and that law is going to be too restrictive for some people and too lenient for others.

The laws and implementation of them swings back and forth all throughout time.


>I'm sure you want the police and laws there to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Which is why I clearly said ADULT in my response.

We protect children from all manner of things because their brains have not formed to the point where we as a society believe they can make rational choices for themselves

However if we are going to have a free society at some point you become an adult, at which point I do not believe the government should act as a parent over your life making choices as to what is "best" for you

Allowing for that type of government means you lose self agency and your liberty. I reject that

>>The same with drugs, you don't want smack and cocaine being sold in Boots.

Not sure what a boot is, in American English a boot is a type of shoe, I dont really know if I care that people sell drugs out of their shoes...

Aside from that, Yes I believe "smack", cocaine, and every other drug should be legal to sell to adults. The government has not business telling an adult what food, drink or drugs they are allowed or not allowed to take. At most the government has an responsibility to enforce quality, and truthful advertisement laws (i.e not allowing people to sell snake oil, or fentynal as heroin, etc) but beyond that the government has no place in it.


>>The same with drugs, you don't want smack and cocaine being sold in Boots.

>Not sure what a boot is,

Boots is a chain of pharmacies (also "health and beauty") stores in the UK. Probably pretty comparable to the US Walgreens or CVS chains.


In fact, Boots is now owned by Walgreens. It's official company name now is Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc but it's Walgreens who bought all the shares of Boots.


I believe 'the boot' is a British term for the trunk of an automobile, which I think fits the bill here :)


The context is the British pharmacy "Boots" - think Walgreens. The parent commenter's argument is that our society at large does not want heroin and coke sold at the corner drugstore. They want these substances out of sight, out of mind.

It's all very well for us to imagine legalized drugs would be safer and more easy to regulate, but a majority of people disagree - so for the time being, they will continue being sold out of the boots of cars.


Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA)

  https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/WBA?p=WBA


> The same with drugs, you don't want smack and cocaine being sold in Boots.

I do actually. Taxed and regulated the same as alcohol and tobacco.


> That said, I really wish that I could come forward with a solution to the online sex trafficking problem.

Start by legalizing prostitution and removing the black market. That won't end all trafficking, but will end a lot and will make it much easier to go after the remaining illegal black market as it's now been separated from the legal market. Comment about how people who don't learn are doomed to repeat history here. How many black markets for harmless everyday goods and services do we need to ban before the idiots in charge start to understand these simple principles? They're constantly talking about markets, but clearly no one in government understands the first thing about them. Or, more likely, doesn't want to.


It's much easier to hide illegally activity that mirrors legal activity than it is to hide illegal activity where all the surrounding paraphernalia is direct evidence. Your assertion that legalisation of prostitution will lead to less trafficking of people seems naive to me - you create a larger market and allow people to easily hide.


You bring forth a compelling theory, but I don't think it's true. Compare the market for contraband or counterfeited booze and cigarettes, which "mirrors" legal booze and cigarettes, with the market for cocaine and heroin, where "all the surrounding paraphernalia is direct evidence".


OK, go on, if someone is smoking an illegally imported cigarette it's nearly impossible to tell just by looking that there's been a crime. If they're doing a line you know within a small error margin without any investigation.

Why, because the former is hidden by the legally allowed behaviour.


No, you can't tell if a given cigarette being smoked is contraband or not, but buying a pack of smuggled cigarettes is a very different experience from buying a legal pack.

When all brothels (escort services etc) are illegal, operators have very little incentive to enforce all sex workers being 18+, non-trafficed, getting regular medicals, whatever. Even a conscientious customer has very few options to check for themselves. If brothels on the other hand are legal, operators have every incentive to do this, and if anyone is looking for an illegal brothel (which looks very different from a legal one, just like the place you're buying smuggled smokes looks very different from a 7-11), this "paraphernalia" is direct evidence that they're looking for something bad.


Sure, but the question is about the relative sizes of the markets and the amount of involuntary suffering involved.


While I admittedly did not look up any hard data, I take it for granted that the cocaine market is much more of a public problem than the smuggled cigarette market. This flies in the face of your admittedly compelling thought experiment. Siblings have made some compelling points regarding why that might be.


Legal cigarettes cap the profits that can be had from illegal cigarette trade. With cocaine, you can charge 100x production costs. This creates incentives that are sure to produce an endless supply of dealers, regardless of how draconian enforcement is.


It would probably also create a boom in prostitution - with the accompanying drawbacks. Job Cohen, the former mayor of Amsterdam lamented in crime organizations and human traffickers taking advantage of their lax prostitution laws


> Start by legalizing prostitution and removing the black market

That would be to rational thing to do, but people aren't rational and they don't actually want solutions.


[flagged]


You know that you can have consensual sexual relationships outside of marriage, right? They don't even have to be exclusive.

Seriously, dude, if you're a "hungry man", open Tinder or just go to a local hook up bar. Hooking up for a one night stand is trivial.


I look repulsive and my personality isn't much better. Hookups are quite out of the question. But it must be nice to be attractive and have enough money to go out clubbing.


Stop being such a goddamned quitter. Go to r/pua or r/seduction, r/fitness and r/malefashionadvice and follow the advice in the sidebar. If all you want to do is get laid even with a repulsive personality it’s a numbers game and the highest value is in the PUA stuff. Having a body that works like it’s supposed to will both help you with getting some and your mental health. Dressing well is the least important. If you just don’t care about that go all Steve Jobs about it and wear the same outfit all the time, whether it’s a suit like Vonneuman or a tracksuit that fits.

And don’t put yourself down. Other people are happy to do it for you.


If I can meet biological needs like eating by paying some one and not having to hunt and farm, why shouldn't I have the option of doing the same with sex?


I’m not saying you can’t. If you want to, go for it. But feeling that you are charmless and ugly is unpleasant even if you can buy sex. Even if you never want to have sex with someone you’re not paying I’d give the same advice to any man who felt he had a poor personality and physical experience. These are problems that are at worst, and I do mean worst, ameliorable.


> I look repulsive and my personality isn't much better.

If you tell yourself those things often enough, which frankly sound like what other people have said about you in the past, eventually you start to believe them as fact.

Both looks and personality can be improved upon, even if you are on a budget.


Perhaps the commenter was merely making a point but no doubt your advice is invaluable.


> Hooking up for a one night stand is trivial.

Glad you've been lucky, but don't make assumptions from data set of 1. It's trivial only for the most attractive and charismatic males. OkCupid has published some nice research on it


Luckily charisma can be learned and overcome all but the most outlying unattractive.

But yea prostitution is the world's oldest profession for a reason - sometimes people just want a transactional sexual encounter. For money, one can have no "equal parts" requirement - no need to reciprocate. It's not for everyone (or for me) but I can understand the attraction.


Hooking up for a one night stand is trivial.

That is true for maybe 3-5% of the human race. Some people can indeed easily attract casual sexual partners in a matter of minutes or hours in almost any environment. But the vast majority of the population cannot. That’s why prostitution will never go away, regardless of how many laws are passed trying to limit it.


Yes I know, but there’s a massive societal expectation that it’s ok for a woman to beat her boyfriend if he cheated on her, even if it’s not married.

And “cheating” is up to the solipsism of the woman to decide, anything between kissing and looking at a girl on the street and thinking about a woman is considered cheating, at least because society believes the woman at face value.

So no, casual relationships are, depending on the subject, no different from marriage, juges recognize men as fathers even in casual relationships, and there’s no way today to make the contract clear with a woman today. Hence, prostitution would contractualize the casualness of the relationship and it’s not allowed today.


It all depends on how do you agree upon this. I've been married, and I've been in open and polyamorous relationships, and difference is enormous.


.


> prevailing concept that "consent" can be revoked AFTER you have consented

No, it can't; but what does happen is people taking "she didn't complain" as evidence of consent rather than evidence of coercion into not complaining.


Of course it can. Someone might want to have sex with you, and consent, and then they might want you to stop, and remove consent for you to continue.

Continuing sex with someone after they tell you to stop, no matter what they said before, is sexual assault.


Well, yes it can. You have to dismiss massive amounts of male testimonies to say that consent has never ever been removed after the fact.

Reasoning recursively: To dismiss males’ testimonials, you’d need to take girls’ words at face value, which, in itself, demonstrates that girls’ words are taken at face value by a lot of people in society, hence the recurring massive problem of false convictions.


The idea that there's a recurring massive problem of false convictions for rape is bizarre. In most countries it's extremely difficult to get alleged rape prosecuted in the first place and the conviction rate is low. I'm not going to dispute that it might have happened in some cases but it's a comparatively rare problem.

(Also, I'm going to assume you're not a native English speaker - the contrasting group nouns should be "men" and "women" not "males" and "girls")


>The idea that there's a recurring massive problem of false convictions for rape is bizarre

You are talking convictions, the OP seems to be talking Accusations and where the latest trend is to gain a conviction in the court of public opinion and to inflict punishment outside of a judicial system


This parenthetical is an odd leap. Perhaps it was meant to suggest that the author (who is certainly fluent in, if not a native speaker of, English) shouldn't use the word girls to refer to women?


> In defense of the "scorched earth approach or nothing" folks: from my perspective... it's a completely and totally human response to faceless, blameless, unapproachable (from their perspective) perpetrators and facilitators of systematic abuse and exploitation of innocent and vulnerable people.

No, its more like the Salem witch hunt.


both of those statements can be true.


> it's a completely and totally human response to faceless, blameless, unapproachable (from their perspective) perpetrators and facilitators of systematic abuse and exploitation of innocent and vulnerable people.

You mean, like millions of illegal immigrants who are working in farming, construction, fast food, and many other industries? How do you feel about scorched earth approach to those?


Apparently trading your body for sex is somehow metaphysically different to trading your body for labor.


It most certainly is for an indeterminate number of people.


then it should be honestly discussed in terms of morality, not 'but slavery and trafficking!'


But if you suggest to legalize and regulate it as a means of protecting those who don't wish to participate, you will be seen as a demonic entity who is advocating for sex crimes to be legalized. I don't think one can defend a crusade that so easily and extremely ignores alternative solutions. I suspect a lot of the push is from very conservative or sex negative views who see this as an opening to roll back some of the recently won sexual freedoms.


It works both ways with different issues. Generally speaking every political discussion has degraded into accusing the other side of killing children.


> If you've ever felt frustrated at an IVR system for routine tasks such as banking, restaurant reservations [...] hundreds, of innocent victims who have been raped, exploited, and brutalized.

How can you compare being the victim of misdesigned automated system, who has no conscience and follows blind rules, to being the victim of a trafficker who has full understanding and responsibility for what he's doing and exploiting a mindless computer system designed for an entirely different purpose?

Now I agree we as a society should recognize that some tools, in the hands of the criminal, sociopath or insane can do a lot of harm, and it's fair to move and restrict them. High explosives, nuclear material, anonymous banking are all examples of technologies that, while useful, can and should be restricted.

But at no point it is a fault of the technology, and at no point should we examine the technology divorced from it's nefarious users who ultimately bear responsibility. Restricting useful technology is an extreme measure reserved for the most dangerous situations, otherwise ANY technology can be used for harming others. This particular case seems completely out of balance and likely to have NO impact.


I think you may be misreading GP's point.

My reading is that he's likening the frustrations of the non profits with getting through to what they consider faceless entities (the companies) to the lesser frustrations one may have when one's subjected to an optional IVR experience.

In other words, paraphrasing liberally: "if you occasionally get annoyed by bring subjected to being automated by IVRs, imagine what these folks feel like trying to get through to [insert company name here]."


> High explosives, nuclear material, anonymous banking are all examples of technologies that, while useful, can and should be restricted.

I'm not sure how to take your comments, based on your other thoughts. We shouldn't have anonymous banking, i.e. cryptocurrency or even cash?


I don't think he said anonymous banking should't be available at all - he explicitly said it was useful. But he also said it should be restricted for similar reasons the other things in his list should be restricted, because significant harm can be done to the public/society with it in the hands of some people. Money laundering is one example that comes to mind. If you're a proponent of Crypto currencies you've probably heard similar statements before - this criticism isn't new.


> In defense of the "scorched earth approach or nothing" folks: from my perspective... it's a completely and totally human response to faceless, blameless, unapproachable (from their perspective) perpetrators and facilitators of systematic abuse and exploitation of innocent and vulnerable people.

Yes, the instinct is understandable, but by the time we're putting NGO experts in government-sponsored working groups for the purpose of drafting legislation, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that we're expecting something that rises (high!) above mere instinct. Otherwise, we can (almost, somewhat melodramatic exaggeration) just let mobs with pitchforks take care of business and save a ton of effort.


You're absolutely right. It it a deeply human response to an incredible frustration. After decades of struggle, to help the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed, it's down a couple of faceless corporations that don't seem to care.

Because if they just knew, if they just understood, if they just had a little human empathy and sympathy for the pain and suffering... Why then they'd take all their money and smart people and Solve the Problem! That this is perhaps an excessively simplistic view doesn't occur to people who fervently believe that it's simply a matter of making the useless arrogant dweebs do the right thing.

Instead, it's scorched earth with good intentions. My heart aches for the wonderful people saving lives out there. For their deep frustration, and for the purity of their beliefs and intentions. Yet, it's perhaps abstractly possible that empathy and good intentions might be subtly different from good policy.


"Human" as in emotional, impulsive and irrational, yes.

It is also quite unfitting and stupid and innefective.


The difference is that this approach could work against IVRs, but not against sex trafficking.


the good of the dozens outweighs the liberty the entire species?


> we should be burning down craigslist entirely

So, let's all be honest about something about CL personals that means these folks might not be wrong (even if, as is likely, the actual legislation is terrible policy).

I've actually used CL personals to get some dates, and there are things I liked about it (primarily text-focused medium can be nice, are there any more of those?), and I'm single, so having it go away is personally a bit disappointing.

But it is obvious to anyone who has used them that CL personals were utterly overwhelmed by people who are selling the other kind of Saas (Sex as a Service). This was a point of frustration for anyone looking for a connection (however unconventional) rather than a transaction. But worse, no matter your views on whether people should be able to voluntarily do sex work, with the majority of the w4m traffic being prostitution, it seems all but inevitable that there was some coerced trafficking regularly associated with it.

This was at least nominally against the terms of the personals section, but nobody selling cared at all (and in some cases, were cheeky enough to flag legit not-selling-anything ads), and if craigslist mounted any serious effort to fix the problem, it wasn't one I noticed.

This legislation sounds like thoughtless single-dimension policy, but I'm not sure it burns down CL entirely on its own so much as it does forces CL to reckon with the fact that its personals section was already set on fire by pushers much earlier and that they didn't care enough to do anything about it.

(Which is fine, they obviously never derived revenue from it and are under no obligation to divert resources there or let that drag down the rest of their successful classifieds offering.)


>>But it is obvious to anyone who has used them that CL personals were utterly overwhelmed by people who are selling the other kind of Saas (Sex as a Service).

That is also largely the government fault because back in 2010 they more or less forced CL to close the Sections of the site that was dedicated to Adult Services... and as predicted the people that were in those sections simply moved to the personals


Its their fault they forced craigslist to shut down a section openly advertising illegal content? I love the contortions people make. It's not like sex work is even legal in the majority of western nations


They failed to stop the crime they were trying to stop, but did ruin something else, so the government's actions were a net negative. Are you at fault if you just make things worse? I suspect most people would say yes.

Governments have a long history of enforcing laws in ways that harm everyone but the criminals they were trying to stop. You shouldn't expect people to be pleased.


You assume they were trying to stop the criminals in the first place.

Hierarchy of Government Rationality as it pertains to criminal law

1. Generate Revenue

2. Control the population

3. Protect Businesses and the Wealthy people that fund Campaigns

.... many other items

9999999999999. Stop criminals


>>It's not like sex work is even legal in the majority of western nations

It should be legal that is the point

>Its their fault they forced craigslist to shut down a section openly advertising illegal content?

yes, that was the entire point of Section 230 of the communications act, to prevent platform from being liable for users content, even if the users were doing things that were illegal

Further it is a violation, imo, of the 1st amendment to prohibit speech, while they may be able to make the ACT of prostitution illegal they should not be able to prohibit speech about prostitution.. There is a very very big difference


> yes, that was the entire point of Section 230 of the communications act, to prevent platform from being liable for users content, even if the users were doing things that were illegal

There was the assumption in this is that illegal content was removed.

There's also a difference in CL actively putting a section in that says "Illegal Services advertised here".

For clarity, there's no concern with legalizing these services, as far as I am concerned.

You think it's a violation of your First Amendment rights to be unable to openly advertise criminal activities? Where does that line end?


>>You think it's a violation of your First Amendment rights to be unable to openly advertise criminal activities?

I dont know... lets see

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech,

Yep seems pretty clear to me, that congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.... So what part of that is unclear to you?

>>Where does that line end?

No where? Freedom of speech is absolute. It you have a limit on speech is stops being free speech, and become regulated speech


The Supreme Court (and other US courts) have repeatedly found that the US Constitution does not hold that freedom of speech is absolute.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce...


You seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.... Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.

-- Thomas Jefferson


> to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions

You seem to consider Thomas Jefferson as some kind of ultimate arbiter of constitutional questions. :b

To the extent that his point is that judges alone (and in particular judges-for-life) aren't enough to guarantee a well-functioning non-corrupt minimally-oppressive state, sure, that's a reasonable point and the American multi-branched system is a reasonable response to that.

To the extent that Jefferson's being brought in here to say "Yeah, well, that's just, like, [The Supreme Court's] opinion, man" and therefore to dismiss the idea that legally, free speech is not an unabridged right... o-kay. You know that judges are, tautologically, the arbiters of constitutional and legal questions (and the supreme court the ultimate arbiters), right? Even if you said "hey, we're getting rid of all these ultimate arbiter judges because they're oligarchy waiting to happen" the next question is "well, who decides what the law says?" and either your answer to that question is something like "well, we'll call them, ummmm... 'Readers', yeah" (and they're effectively judges) or someone says something really dumb like "Well, the people who wrote the law are the arbiters!" (oops, we just collapsed multiple branches of government into 1) or "well, it's obvious, everyone will do it." Jefferson's point about potential for tyranny seems to be orthogonal to his complaint about judges being the ultimate arbiters and it's why the other co-equal branches do other things besides a-arbiter'ing.

On the off chance that there's a superior argument or arrangement to what the courts have constructed as cited by the grandparent -- and it could happen, courts make flawed or even terrible decisions sometimes -- by all means, make the case for it in the marketplace of ideas and get it re-litigated through the courts or authored/amended into law.

But unless you have a specific argument as to why they got it wrong, not only is it true that the court decision reflects the law of the land for now because that's how our system works, chances are pretty good that the court also had a better argument than random HN commentators, even if they have a favorite founding father quote at hand. It might be better to reach for dissenting opinions instead.


Agreed that judges are not infallible, and we must keep watch, both in appointments being made and the judgements they make. That's why the Constitution is structured the way it is. It's important that we continue to do so, particularly now.

I also trust, unless proven otherwise, that these judges have studied the law and are acting in good faith, both as arbiters of justice and as American citizens. These aren't isolated, unique cases. On the whole, I would defer to them over my own opinion, as I would for many experts. And, without additional information about you, I'd defer to their opinion over yours, as I'd expect you to, in the same situation, as well.

I don't believe that there is some conspiracy across all of these judges and justices to systematically deprive citizens of rights. You are free to believe otherwise. I do believe that assuming bad faith across the board is a recipe for the destruction of community, society, and government. Perhaps you believe we're already at that point. I don't believe we are, at least not yet.


>Its their fault they forced craigslist to shut down a section openly advertising illegal content? I love the contortions people make.

Given how arbitrarily laws are applied, it is the fault of the people choosing when to arbitrarily apply a law as to the impacts of arbitrarily applying that law.


just googling `w4m` now brings up a ton of prostitution trash >< I don't even want to know what it stands for.


Nothing bad, just "woman (looking) for man". I used to see ads in the local free paper with people looking for relationships.

Naturally, m4m, w4w, mw4m etc are also understood.


I learned many fun abbreviations reading the personals in the local newsweekly in middle school/high school (aka the pages you were supposed to pretend weren't there, and the reason school officials were sometimes angry if they saw you with a copy on school grounds) that carried directly over to Craigslist. They used to charge by the word in the personal ad, so people got into a lot of common abbreviation habits.

The newsweeklies that used to carry personals lost a lot of ad revenue when Craigslist took over the space for free. (Some went bankrupt soon after CL added their city, even.) Unlikely that they will get that ad revenue back with CL out of the game, as many won't want to touch personals again for similar reasons to CL, and a lot of the personals space is also moved on to the Match.com/OKCupid/PlentyOfFishes of the internet.


Then shut down Google too.


Well in the case of this particular bill, at least some of the advocates for sex workers had some sense and spoke loudly and clearly about the bad consequences of this law.

https://www.allure.com/story/sesta-sex-trafficking-bill-cele...

https://survivorsagainstsesta.org/about-sesta/

https://survivorsagainstsesta.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/se...

https://injusticetoday.com/proposed-federal-trafficking-legi...


I suppose if you work directly with people on the front lines of that problem, Craigslist personals might seem pretty trivial in comparison.


To me, the odd thing is they focus on that instead of legalization and helping people report abuses.

Legalization is far from perfect but abuse in Nevada brothels is much lower than as street walkers.

It seems it's more a puritanical belief system than a genuine desire to render aid.


This is key. I strongly believe that legalization is the only answer to the problem. Driving things underground is only going to cause more issues and abuse to the sex workers.

It's kind of ironic when in France, for example, a law gets passed criminalizing the customers while the sex workers go in the street to protest that law saying that it will create more abuse (and one year after, they were right).

Trying to stop behaviors that will always exist in human societies doesn't work, it just drives the demand underground and if things are illegal already, then other more illegal, more abusive behaviors start to surface.


> This is key. I strongly believe that legalization is the only answer to the problem.

Why do we have to "believe"? There are many examples to learn from, to see what works and what doesn't.

For example, this study [0].

"This paper suggests it’s the latter. Using trafficking data from 150 countries, the authors find that "countries where prostitution is legal experience a larger reported incidence of human trafficking inflows."

As an example, they discuss Germany, which legalized prostitution in 2002. The minimum estimate of sex trafficking victims in the country increased from 9,870 in 2001 to 11,080 in 2002, to 12,350 in 2003."

As an anecdotal example: Sweden has one of the harshest stances on prostitution, and it's working just fine [1].

[0] http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/06/17/study-legalizing-prostit... [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden#Researc...


> As an example, they discuss Germany, which legalized prostitution in 2002. The minimum estimate of sex trafficking victims in the country increased from 9,870 in 2001 to 11,080 in 2002, to 12,350 in 2003."

Careful, such numbers typically come from criminal statistics. Those count reported cases, not convictions, and (by design) can't contain unreported cases.

Alternative reading: by legalizing prostitution, an entire economical sector (there's €€€ involved) is now open to routine law enforcement controls which increased visibility in the trafficking part of it, since sex workers can be more forthcoming with information as they don't need to hide their own business. The ramp up into 2003 could indicate that law enforcement took a while to properly take advantage of that.


That's a narrative (like the comment I was responding to), not backed by any studies as far as I can tell.

Sex trafficking has always been illegal, and the reasons for its under-reporting have little to do with prostitution being illegal.


> That's a narrative (like the comment I was responding to), not backed by any studies as far as I can tell.

The legalization narrative is about sexual abuse (in the general sense both for sex workers and the broader population) and not specifically trafficking.

You are redefining English in attempt to use a paper that is entirely conjecture based on the predispositions of the authors. I stated _abuse_ as in sexual abuse, not trafficking specifically.

Sex workers are objecting to this law because it is cutting off their ability to communicate dangerous clients to each other. That will lead to an increase in them getting raped.

Like, I get you want to say "Sex trafficking bad and clearly that is the only issue that matters" but it is far from the only issue.

Trafficked persons, in a legal environment, are going to have their place of work inspected, regular interviews with the police for licensing, and their citizenship status checked. The studies of early legalization Germany are so fun for opponents to push because they know Germany did not do this for the first years.

It is like comparing a known, obviously broken implementation and insisting all implementations look like that or that is the only measure of success.

https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/sesta-anti-sex-trafficking-bi...

> I was a #sexworker organizer for years in NYC. #FOSTA would undermine almost every single thing I would tell people for how to stay alive. ALL screening, ALL peer references, ALL bad date lists I could send. #SurvivorsAgainstFOSTA

https://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-...

> The authors provide “causal evidence” of a 32 to 40 percent reduction in rape and sexual abuse within two years of a city opening a tippelzone. The higher number is for cities that license sex work in the tippelzone; the lower figure is for cities without a licensing process. “The decreases in sexual abuse are stronger in cities with licensed tippelzones.”

> In cities with both a tippelzone and a licensing requirement, the authors find a 25 percent reduction in drug-related crimes within two years. That result persists beyond two years.

https://www.nber.org/papers/w20281

> Most governments in the world including the United States prohibit prostitution. Given these types of laws rarely change and are fairly uniform across regions, our knowledge about the impact of decriminalizing sex work is largely conjectural. We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor prostitution in 2003 to provide the first causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, rape offenses, and sexually transmitted infection outcomes. Not surprisingly, we find that decriminalization increased the size of the indoor market. However, we also find that decriminalization caused both forcible rape offenses and gonorrhea incidence to decline for the overall population. Our synthetic control model finds 824 fewer reported rape offenses (31 percent decrease) and 1,035 fewer cases of female gonorrhea (39 percent decrease) from 2004 to 2009.


I'm sure that places with legalized drugs also experience increases in drug trafficking inflows. And the overall alcohol consumption in the USA rose after the prohibition.

>> Does this mean legalizing prostitution is a bad idea? Well, not necessarily. The authors note that legalization could have other positive effects, such making it easier for prostitutes to seek legal or medical help and decreasing rates of abuse and sexually-transmitted disease.

The real key, and it's also highlighted in your [0] link, is if the situation is better for almost everyone after legalizing.

About the Sweden example, claiming that "since the law came into effect fewer men reported purchasing sex and prostitutes were less visible" (your [1] link) is a winning situation is a bit lame. Of course after a prohibition you expect the prostitution to go underground and less visible. It's like denying paedophilia just because nobody reports himself as a peadophile and you cannot see children on the streets.


Yes it's a bad idea.

Imagine we had legalized drugs, but barely anyone wanted to make them, because making them was nasty and degrading in a way that few people could even tolerate. No matter what you did, you simply couldn't find enough people willing to make them. Paying them more wont help, because beyond a certain point the nastiness of making them can't be washed away with money.

So the next step is coercing people to do so.


Except they could do that now (its called rape / sex slave trafficking) and the women would know it was safe to contact the police.

Part of the power of abusing people is taking away people's paperwork and convincing them the police won't help them.


FWIW there's been another reform in Germany. Brothels and prostitution are legal, provided prostitutes register with the police. The police registration is a bit of paperwork and an interview every 6/12 months, the goal of the interview is to uncover trafficking.

Skipping that interview is a crime for the brothel owner, not just the prostitute.

Two weeks after the reform, about 90% of prostitutes in Munich had been interviewed (mostly before it was formally required): http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/prostitutionsschutzgeset...


A contradicting practical example is the situation with legal brothels in Turkey. The goverment wants them shut but the women working there wants them kept open, because otherwise they have no option but to go underground, and then they lose access to facilities like security and routine health controls. When some years ago the Istanbul municipality tried to shut them off the women protested: http://www.milliyet.com.tr/karakoy-de-genelevde-calisan-kadi...


This does not take into account the increased number of ppl. As an extreme example to illustrate my point if it has been 2 million ppl living in Germany in 2001 and 10 million in 2002 in the age range they are looking at then it’s actually better. It should be based on % rather than just numbers. Also it doesn’t look at the trend. If it the trend was to increase by 30% but dropped afterwards to 20% then again it has worked in some way.

I’m not arguing that this is definitely the case, I’m just saying how data should be looked at and compared to have a better understanding of the outcome of an event. But if I’m wrong I’d love to hear why. :)


Those numbers are all available. Germany's population is very stable and 2001-2003 changed by 0.2% based on world bank figures.

> If it the trend was to increase by 30% but dropped afterwards to 20% then again it has worked in some way.

Only of you have some real reason to expect the number to increase by 30%. Just looking at a trend is not enough.


Firstly, The entire paper is guesswork. There are no official numbers to support the fact that legalising prostitution increases the victim count. I just finished reading it and they even in the beginning state that they don’t have the data.

Secondly, I was just making a point that in these kinds of researches a % value is IMO a better measurement


the original statement "legalization is the only answer to the problem" is similarly guesswork then


> Why do we have to "believe"? There are many examples to learn from, to see what works and what doesn't.

The discussion was about abuse, not about total number of trafficking incidents. Those _estimates_ are not actual numbers but extrapolations of the actual numbers in the opinion of the study's authors.

Germany also failed to properly regulate its brothels with the same vigor as they apply to other industries which was genuinely unfortunate.

All it takes is going to legal brothels with business licenses and checking citizenship status.


Sweden has more rapes per capita than any country outside of sub-saharan Africa. Whatever system they have they can keep.


It seems some of the men living in Sweden are among the planets worst sexual predators, to word it carefully.

Sweden is pushing new legislation that will increase the number of rapes even more. It will be a law of consent and will shift the burden of proof from the victim to the rapist. Unless the rapist can prove consent, he will be sentenced for rape by negligence. Under the new law, having sex with a traffic victim prostitute can be considered "rape", and the burden of proof will be on the john to prove that it is not a traffic victim. (1,2,3)

I live next door, in Norway. Here we talk of the "Swedish condition".

(1) http://www.regeringen.se/pressmeddelanden/2017/12/en-ny-sexu... (2) http://www.gp.se/nyheter/sverige/h%C3%A4r-%C3%A4r-f%C3%B6rsl... (3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Sweden


How will this work? If neither party can prove consent, they both rapped each other by negligence? Or does this only apply to Johns?


Blame the man, it's the only way to reach gender equality.


Don’t you mean Jans? ;)


I'm curious, is there any Norwegian commentary on Sweden in English?


Google translate is far from perfect but (except for media clips obviously) it's extremely helpful for getting the gist.


Approximately: No.


I recall this is Because their definition is far broader - if it was applied to other countries the number of rapes would increase


I think it's to do with the collection of statistics as well.

They record the rape at the initial reporting to the police, no matter what any later investigation shows, and multiple rapes are counted individually (many countries do not).

This is not saying which approach is correct for recording the numbers, but that you cant simply compare the numbers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19592372


This is a well known trope (especially in less palatable corners of the internet). A quick read of the "Rape in Sweden" [0] wikipedia page explains why these numbers are very high. Each separate relation is counted as a different rape, the definition of rape is broader, and the reporting rate is higher.

For people that lived in Sweden, this claim (that Sweden has some incredible rape problem) is surprising to say the least.

(with that being said, there has been an increase in sexual violence lately, probably correlated with immigration from regions where the rate is higher, but from what I could gather it was not a dramatic increase)

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Sweden


It's worth pointing out that the "Nordic Model" used in Sweden is indeed harsh, but only for pimps and buyers.

Prostitutes themselves are not punished with a criminal record like they are in the US. Instead they are offered support to exit. Which makes sense if you really want them to to leave that industry. Legit jobs are hard to find with a record, so it's no wonder people who get arrested for crimes like prostitution and drug dealing often end up in the same situation after getting arrested.


Your post came as a surprise. It seems like they've been under-regulated. http://www.dw.com/en/germany-introduces-unpopular-prostituti...


Oh course German sex trafficing increased; prostitution is illegal in the neighboring countries, so now Germany's border regions service a large international customer base. Sex tourism is also big thing for some cities. The market got a lot bigger the second prostitution was legalized.


> This is key. I strongly believe that legalization is the only answer to the problem

I agree, but It's not a complete solution. Where I live brothels are legal, there is one 5 minutes from my house yet there are still street workers. The street workers are generally suffering from homelessness, mental health issues, drugs or all three. Legal brothels take care of much of the demand side, but they don't do much for people pushed into selling themselves.


1. Most folks don't think it is a complete solution, and perhaps simply not limiting prostitution to brothels is one of the expansions that would work. You can still outlaw selling from the streets and require folks be registered and working through personals and whatnot, with some safety plans in place.

2. It seems the solution for these particular folks would be to focus less on picking them up for prostitution and instead, finding them safe housing, repeatedly offering mental health care, and repeatedly offering addiction services or at least helping them find a way to avoid feeling like they are forced into prostitution. With prostitution itself being legal, it is much easier to focus on these sorts of technicalities.


> I strongly believe that legalization is the only answer to the problem.

This appears to be a popular thesis among the commenters on this page. But your hunch is not proven by the realities of countries that have legalized prostitution. As I've commented elsewhere here, all you have to do is study the laws of prostitution elsewhere in the world to understand that they have little to no influence on sex trafficking. Prostitution is legal, explicit, and even taxed in the Netherlands, but sex trafficking remains such a major problem that some large cities, like Utrecht, have outlawed prostitution locally to combat the issue.


or maybe they, like any other political group, seek power to regulate and enforce


As I noted in another comment, all you have to do is study the laws of prostitution elsewhere in the world to understand that they have little to no influence on sex trafficking. Prostitution is legal, explicit, and even taxed in the Netherlands, but sex trafficking remains such a major problem that some large cities, like Utrecht, have outlawed prostitution locally to combat the issue.


This is true, unfortunately, of many public interest groups. They’re staffed by true believers, often people who have been strongly affacted by whatever cause they’re fighting for. Dealing with sex abuse victims all day destroys your objectivity.


> it took them ~10 years to get the house to do it

Interesting. I wonder if the timing has anything to do with a recent particularly shocking case of sexual exploitation involving Craigslist:

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/15601265.Sadistic_paedoph...


:%s/sex trafficking/mass shooting/g

:%s/gun control laws/internet control laws/g


There can be various degrees of hysteria around both those topics, but the equivalency you seem to be suggesting is false, for me. The internet doesn't enable trafficking as directly as guns enable shootings.


It's a tautology and irrelevant to say guns enable shootings. Guns make murder convenient, just as the Internet makes certain crimes convenient. But in both cases, the majority of the user base is benign and law abiding, and legislation would negatively affect them, arguably more than it would affect the bad actors.


paulblyne fair enough I see your point. but what i find interesting is the willfulness americans will _permanently relinquish_ their rights and the rights of their descendants to the government in one case vs the other in the name of safety in reaction to current events.


People are using Craigslist and Backpage to advertise sex trafficking victims for sale and using other internet services to engage in the communications to coordinate those sales and sometimes even to process the payments for those sales. Seems pretty direct to me.


> The only thing mildly surprising to me here is that it took them ~10 years to get the house to do it.

Some of the non-profits dedicated to fighting this opposed the bill!


They tried asking nicely with Backpage, and it failed entirely.


It's kind of ridiculous considering the original bill wasn't intended to protect tech companies from this type of shit.


For every problem worth solving there is an answer that is simple, easy, and wrong.


Was that during the 1994 Child Safety Protection Act?


What non-profits?


They had to wait 10 years to get a GOP majority in the House and Senate and a nominally conservative President to rubber stamp it. It's conceivable had the same technology hypothetically existed before that Reagan/Bush/Bush 2/Clinton would signed it as well.


It's taken this long because it took until now for people to start falling out of love with the tech industry, including many politicians. Having Wyden in their pocket won't be enough anymore. The skepticism of the tech industry is surprisingly bipartisan, which bodes well on a number of fronts including antitrust scrutiny and potentially the equivalent of GDPR (if we're lucky).


There is no "shared ground." Prostitution is illegal in all but one state of the USA, and that under very specific conditions. Craigslist should self police and remove posts that more or less are openly illegal in a way defined by the laws of the land. It's not like they are just discussing it or using free speech, its openly advocating the sale of illegal services and should be against Craiglist's own TOS.

I mean hell, if they were facilitating the illegal sale of guns this site would be up in arms to ban them.


In general the public does not treat all forms of illegal activity facilitation the same and this is a good thing. Some forms of illegal activity facilitation are much worse than others in the eyes of the public. It’s reasonabke and natural that one instance of this evokes outrage and another a nonchalant attitude.

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