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Craigslist takes personals sections offline in response to FOSTA (craigslist.org)
947 points by cft on March 23, 2018 | hide | past | 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.


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.


> 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.


What non-profits?


Was that during the 1994 Child Safety Protection Act?


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).


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.


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.


I just read the text of this bill. The way it reads, the entire online dating industry should be closing its doors...tonight. CEOs of these companies face penalties of up to 25 years in prison. Why were there not massive protests over this? I had never heard of this bill before today.


I recommend that you subscribe to the blog of the EFF, and perhaps consider membership. They’ve been following this law in it’s various guises for quite some time, and providing tools for concerned citizens to contact their representatives effectively.

Here’s some analysis of the proposals from October 2017:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/10/sex-trafficking-expert...


I’ll definitely subscribe and pay more attention to these issues. Thanks for the link!


Meanwhile, net neutrality, which wasn't even policy until the Obama administration gets huge press all over the place. What happened to Silicon Valley's political activism?


Good question... almost like they might not be telling you the truth when the say they are riled up about X because of Y. The silence on Z is deafening.


NN rules predate the Obama administration in various forms.


because the bill was introduced and passed in under 24 hours!


it'll be selectively enforced; small players will be pushed out because they can't afford the liability, and the behemoths will use their weight to ensure nothing happens to them.


> it'll be selectively enforced

This is the crux. These laws are not meant to be enforced universally.

The objective is having ammunition to use when other motives determine the target to strike.


Nobody listens to sex workers.


Possibly, but this is so broadly written that it reaches far beyond sex workers to the executives of massive enterprises - who usually are listened to. It essentially says that if you own any website and don't do enough to prevent prostitution from occurring through it, you go to prison for 10 years if there were 1-4 prostitutes on the site, and 25 years if there were 5 or more prostitutes on the site. Additionally, people "injured" by the offense can seek civil damages and attorneys fees. That presumably includes the sex workers themselves, if they claim they were forced to be on there by someone else.

Executives at Tinder, POF, Match.com, etc. should be shaking in their boots right now. Even Facebook and other social networks could have civil and criminal exposure under this law.


>I had never heard of this bill before today.

Who was going to tell you about it? Time, NYT, CNN, WaPo? Nope.


Oh they told you about it, they were favorable to it:

[Feb 14 2018] "Don’t Let Criminals Hide Their Data Overseas"

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/opinion/data-overseas-leg...

[Mar 5 2018] "A promising solution is the Cloud (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act, introduced by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate last month."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-global-game-of-wha...


In fairness, your links are opinion pieces not staff reporting.


And there's some staff reporting as well, which is actually pretty reasonable. This is from the Post last August:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/08/01...


Both of these are opinion page pieces. Newspapers publish a wide variety of these without endorsing the position.


they still pick the opinions they publish.


Because atoms are in limited supply. It does not mean endorsement.


It seems this and the new Youtube/Reddit bans would push more of this communication to the dark web and/or other private communication channels. I don't think I am comfortable with that. But, hopefully it leads to more support and push for privacy and decentralization.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-21/youtube-b...

https://motherboard.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/ne9v5k/reddit...


There is something to be said for making a discouraged activity harder to do.

Yes, it pushes these people underground but in a sense that is good as it makes it harder for them and harder to access them. In return it’s not much harder for authorities to infiltrate and there’s less non-illicit activity to filter.

Not perfect, but it’s not always bad.


You are operating under the premise here that what youtube/reddit have banned is something illegal and immoral. Reddit literally banned forums for posting good deals they found for firearms and accessories online. And youtube is banning channels that feature people enjoying their completely legal hobby enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people.

No, the problem here is that governments and large institutions are using truly evil things to convince people to ban completely innocuous things for commercial reasons. This is online gentrification for the corps. And for government, using kids/terrorism/communists is the oldest trick in the book to violate the rights of their citizens.


Human trafficking is about the least innocuous thing I can imagine.


Scare tactics to convince citizens to willingly give up their rights is even less innocuous.


Who gives a shit about Reddit? I’m talking in context of the law that is mentioned in the original article


We can talk about that too. In the original article's context you have government regulation using the tiny, mostly irrelevant threat of 'human trafficing' in order to justify imposing their moral standards on people who don't stigmatize sex like all those old religious farts in congress do.

But really it's not even about that. "Think of the children" is and always has been a cover to simply expand federal power.


The person you replied to had mentioned reddit in their comment so it was kind of a natural progression.

They're saying that the scenario where reddit removed some subreddits for wholly subjective reasons is similar to this craigslist thing.


Which it isn’t. At all. One is mandated by law and the other is self imposed community standards.


If the goal of this is to improve the mistreatment of women and not a thinly veiled attempt to enforce one's morals on others, then it is categorically "bad." Let's look at this another way. Say you're a sex slave who was just beat up by your pimp. Would you go to the police and admit to a decade of prostitution? Sure it may reduce the amount of prostitution going on, but for those who are in the "industry" this only makes things worse for them. All the power is now back in the hands of the pimps and gangs again.


If you push legitimate activities away from legitimate sites, you run the risk that normal users will be driving towards sketchy services, and either accidentally uses a service that crosses a line or discovers illicit activity is ongoing and decides to partake.


It increases the sexual abuse of marginalized women statistically.

Legal brothels have much lower rates of abuse.


> Legal brothels have much lower rates of abuse.

Because there is less overall abuse? If you make something legal you will increase the number of people who are concerned about the legality of their actions which will reduce the overall percentage of people participating who are NOT concerned about the legality of their actions. I would expect the percentage of abuse to go down in that situation, but it doesn't mean that you've actually reduced abuse.

(On the other hand if the activity is legal, it is easier to report abuse. In which case it is the ability to report abuse that is reducing abuse--not the legality of the activity.)



Given the law was in response to abuse of marginalized women sexually in these services (well written or not) that’s not a very good argument in this case.

Both are underground: this is about removing east of access to the service not legal vs illegal services



To remove the layers of abstraction: what it does is force prostitutes to rely on people who can skillfully market while avoiding authorities, aka pimps. What it does is massively increase the power of middlemen in a situation where two consenting adults could conceivably have an exchange of goods and services where neither felt particularly exploited.

It probably does shrink the market, but that just makes the prices rise, maintaining the attraction for middlemen with a larger portion of a smaller pie. Whereas pimped women end up with a smaller portion of a smaller pie. This lowers the attraction of the profession for willing providers, leaving a void to be filled by the unwilling.

The internet has been good to prostitutes. At the the camgirl level, pimps (as camsites) have largely withered away to competing technical service providers, providing nearly indistinguishable commodity platforms competing on features and cost. No reason why this law won't be going for that, either. I'm sure some women on those sites are locally pimped, or follow up private shows with email contact and physical meetings. One occasion would be enough.


There was also an active market discussion subreddit for peddling steroids: https://www.reddit.com/r/steroidsourcetalk

It has been banned as well.


Tonight tens of thousands sex workers are devestated that their safer tool for finding clients is shutting down. Exploitative sex trafficking will continue unabated, but independent working people will be forced into more dangerous situations.


We cannot launch our project too soon [details in profile]. We will do what we can to prevent trafficking: asking for ID and verifying they have an escorting presence is a good start. Analytics to look at payment flow and see if one entity is controlling multiple escorts is another.


Asking for ID and verifying they have an escorting presence, but what if they don't meet your bar? What will you do if you suspect someone is a victim of sex trafficking? Your business model is "extra judiciary" so ... what does that mean for the sex trafficking victims you will invariably come in contact with? How are you specifically planning to change an industry that exploits people?


If they do not meet our bar then they will not be able to join for now. Over time we will increase our methods to verify escorts.

If we feel someone is not operating under their own agency we will disable their account.

Will this fix everything? No. But it is an improvement over existing systems. And we are open to suggestions. If there is broad user/community consensus on how we should handle some scenarios then we can implement those ideas. The critical part of being extrajurisdictional is that we are not compelled to take a specific approach therefore allowing us ethics over legality.


LOL at craigslist being "safe." That site was always sketchy as hell.


Yeah, and without it around they'll have to move to far sketchier platforms or streetwalking. Good job making it worse.


It's a step up from standing on a corner.


When you say "always" are you indicating you've been using the site roughly since its inception? I have, and my memory of its first 10 years or so does not match your description at all.


> independent working people

Good. Sorry, but if you are not being exploited through human trafficking then you are exploiting and taking advantage of your clients deepest emotions of loneliness and love for profit.

Anyone close to that industry will tell you that the majority of your money is made off "whales" just like in Mobile gaming. Whales that fall in love and spend 5 figures and up a year on one person. Not some construction worker wanting a quickie after a long day of work.

Where did this fantasy of sex workers being some kind of net positive for the world come from?

I don't feel sex work needs to be illegal, but I'm certainly not going to have much sympathy for that industry as a whole. Go into a profession that makes the world a better place. No better than Payday loan dealers.


Hilarious to read a comment equating sex work with mobile game design. And then being ok with oppressive rules against the former. On a tech site full of people working in the latter.


I find a somewhat irresolvable issue on the liberal viewpoint of female sexuality and using sex to sell things (or selling sex directly)

I see a lot of push back and negativity towards things like "booth babes" and other models that are employed to use their sexuality to help sell something. And I dont really argue with that, from a consumer angle. But I do also hear and feel for those models, who likely rightly say, why am I now out of a job? How is that empowering?

On the other hand, I think typically liberal viewpoint would be that prostitution should be made more legal and out of the shadows, and of course people can sell sex. Which I also dont disagree with.

As it relates to laws and rights, it isn't in conflict - they both should be legal. But the underlying feelings and opnions about them, it seems somewhat unresolved. There seems to be more hatred towards the objectification of women, but not targeted at say strippers. It doesn't seem totally coherent.


In this case the typical liberal and the radical liberal are split, much as with trans identity.

To sum it up with too broad of a brush, liberal (mainstream) feminists think sex work is positive, and that only coercion to sex should be criminalized.

Radical feminists see sex “work” as an extreme outlier amongst sex trafficking which by their measure constitutes the vast majority of the sex trade. They would consider a woman who was raped and coerced into the trade as a child, but who has adjusted and now verbally “consents” (by far the typical case) as a sex trafficking victim.

So the radical and liberal feminist agree that person is doing nothing illegal. But many of the radical feminists would support criminal charges for the Johns and the pimps/clubs/etc in the vast majority of cases.


There is a long long history of well intentioned laws that liberals push through that end up harming the very same groups, or indirectly other 'vulnerable' groups, they were originally seeking to help.

The problem is there is so often a disconnect between intentions and predictable outcomes when the bills are being crafted... or worse when actual negative outcomes are apparent yet bills continue to stay active for decades.

For ex: 1970s rent control laws in NYC/Toronto significantly reduced the supply of affordable housing after 5-10yrs while a significant percentage of upper/middle-class people ended up getting cheap rent-controlled apartments and never leaving. Not to mention the massive increase in landlord arsons (who had no other choice in order to 'renovate' the building) causing already bad ghettos in the Bronx to turn into war-zone looking places.

So the big question here: Does this law actually help stop sex trafficking? Does it justify the huge costs it imposes on these web sites for which millions of legal sex workers depend on for their livelihood, just to enforce a tiny minority of bad listings? Especially when they completely shut down? Are sex workers being forced to go back to the streets to look for work because it's too hard for them and their customers to find sex-work listing websites?

Or more generally: First: Does it work, Second: if it does, how do they stack up against the side-effects and externalities imposed on law abiding people/industry to achieve that outcome?


Ok sure, now what about the people that weren't raped and just got into prostitution the same way a stripper decides that life is for them? Are they still victims?

A radical feminist (in my experience) will still say yes, effectively robbing these women of their own personal agency and shaming their choices.

That is an important distinction, and your comparison is watered down by ignoring it.


That's very true. Thanks for the addition. I'll try to hold that experience more central next time I bring it up.


Curious based on this comment what you see as the rift in trans identity, as I also see unresolved opinions there.


I should preface that some trans people find the discussion itself deeply offensive and unwelcoming, so it's a very sensitive subject, but I'll try to sum it up respectfully...

The basic question is whether something like whether "visible performance of femininity and recognition as women" is fundamentally what differentiates men and women.

Some radical feminists would say that requiring women to behave in a way that they are recognizable "as women" is a primary mechanism for domination of women. These women want to consider themselves to BE women, while they do things which make them unrecognizable "as women" according to norms.

Many (not all) trans women seek to do somewhat the opposite... they WANT to be recognized "as women". And they will hold up both their desire to perform femininity and their experiences while being recognized "as women" as a thing which makes them women.

I think fundamentally both groups are correct. Trans women are correct that in practice recognition and performance constitute gender and even sex in a very literal way.

But the radical feminists are correct that gender recognition and performance is only one aspect of womanhood, and for some women's groups, it's not central at all.

MichFest is the historical event where I think all of this came to a head. Many women rightly valued MichFest for being a place where they were not recognized "as women" and no one expected anyone to perform femininity.

Trans women rightly felt that the rule excluding them from MichFest was anti-woman, that performance and recognition aside, trans women are women because they "be women" all year, not because of femininty or genitals or anything other than their own discrete self concept.

Personally, I suspect there is some sort of Hegelian dialectic here, and there is no resolution possible, only an infinite regress.


radical liberal

Most radicals don't consider themselves liberal...


I think the issue people have with "booth babes" is that it presupposes men will be the ones perusing the booths, or the ones whose attention is worth grabbing.

There's nothing wrong with valuing someone for their good looks, but in a field like tech where we are trying to encourage women to participate more, using BB's at tech events is a reflection of the event organizers choosing to cater only to men, since it's mostly men that the BB's will entice.


Cheerleaders would be another example. Is it sexual objectification to have scantily clad attractive women on the sidelines? Most probably.

Is having not attractive scantily clad women on the sidelines the answer? No, probably not.

Is getting rid of cheerleaders the answer? Maybe.

Do a lot of girls and women like to be cheerleaders? Apparently.

It seems like the fundamental issue is that men like to see scantily clad attractive women. Efforts to shame or unemploy females who can make money from this is an attempt to fix the symptom, not the cause.


Except that cheerleading it a highly skilled role that takes a lot of hard work and training, they are not just standing around looking nice. And there are male cheerleaders.

Booth babes, maybe this is highly skilled too. I don't know. But I don't think they compare.


I dont understand what your point is.


The point is that cheerleaders are skilled athletes who are valued for their skill and looks. A beautiful cheerleader standing around is not in demand. Booth Babes are not valued for their skill in holding things, they are valued for their looks only. They are not recognized for their talent. They are treated as objects among objects.


I agree that is true, but I dont think it changes anything about my post being true as well. A comparatively higher skilled sexual object doesnt change its nature, or why it exists as a job. Maybe you find it more respectable.


I have no idea if liberals are anti-booth babe or not, but maybe there is a different issue than selling sex(iness)?

Do prudish conservatives approve of booth babes while opposing prostitution?


The question you have to ask is whether or not a "booth babe" would choose such work over others if they had a choice and not merely because it pays the bills.


I would assume attractive women have more options open to them, not less. Same for atrractive males. Attractive people earn more, on average.

Being a booth babe is an option not open to unattractive people. Seems like a superset.


Or a Brogrammer chooses to program over other thing he would rather do? How is that different than the 'push' to 'get women in tech'?


Would you choose the job you currently have if you had another choice and not merely because it pays the bills?

The arguments against capitalism and against sex workers are two completely orthogonal things. Sex work is a consequence of capitalism + enforced class systems perpetuated by leadership.

Fix those things instead of claiming women who have complete personal agency in what they do with their bodies are still being exploited. Of course they are. All of us are being exploited.


I'd encourage folks here to check out ZeroNet (https://zeronet.io). It's a cool little project I've been following for the past couple years that's attempting to decentralize the Internet. It's not very popular but surprisingly it has 11.5k stars on GitHub (https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet).


Can I use your service to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person? Asking for a friend.


zeronet isn't really that anonymous, you're looking for tor or i2p


You miss my point, which is that ZeroNet could fall under this idiot blanket law.


You can access ZeroNet through Tor.


Would be great if their site was at least readable without js.

There's a few groups working in this field and none seem to have a decent offering, the SAFE network has been at it for over a decade with limited success.


I am fucking sick and fucking tired of people interfering with the free choice of individuals in any effort to "fix" society and "help" people.

Lawmakers and advocates, have some epistemic humility and acknowledge that your own perspective may be mistaken. Not everything is oppression. Not every activity is injustice. Sometimes, people just fucking disagree.


The goal of the legislation in question is specifically to help individuals that have been coerced, against their free will, into sex trafficking.

It is not about voluntary interactions between consenting adults.

The legislation might be misguided or ineffective--I haven't really looked into it--but it very definitely isn't about restricting the free choice of individuals.


It’s completely limiting free choice and voluntary interactions between consenting adults. A huge personals section just got shut down. Unless you think 100% of personal ads are coerced sex trafficking, which would be rather crazy opinion.

If you truly wanted to curb sex trafficking, you’d legalize prostitution, not drive it farther underground.


rpearl never claimed that it wasn't limiting free choice. rpearl claimed the intention wasn't to limit free choice.

Intent and actual outcome are two completely different things.


Broadly speaking, I agree.

But at a certain point, it's reasonable to start objecting that an outcome was so obvious that people claiming they didn't intend it are either dishonest or incompetent, and in either case unfit to make the decision.

In this case, I suspect the answer is a little of each - a lot of anti-trafficking campaigns are run by people who openly oppose voluntary sex work, and also Congress is grossly incompetent at knowing which technology laws will limit free choice.

Given all that - I agree that it's worth knowing whether this was intended, but I worry "not our intent" becomes a shield for Congress to hide behind when they do things with horrible outcomes they were warned about well in advance.


Intent and actual outcome are completely different things until you manage a country. Then you gotta be 1000% goddam sure you’re coercing others for the good reasons, and your responsibility can’t be levied for an “Oops I did it again”.


I feel like one is taken for a fool's ride if you lead discussion on legislation based on legislative intent, rather than function. Where does one find the purpose of voter literacy laws? Or California's Proposition 8? Based on the overt statements of individual legislators?


it's still limiting if you define it to broadly. if i defined a law that said every owner of a home will be punished if somebody in that home smoked weed or did drugs.

and airbnb is gone, and so on.


Neither I nor rpearl claimed it wasn't limiting.

The intent was to protect people who are being harmed against their will (held in sex slavery against their will).

Of course the actual effect of the law is different than the intent. The actual effect is limiting.


Do you think the actual intent is closer the stated intent, or to the actual results?

We're talking about seasoned politicians, not naive dreamers.


The actual intent probably is closer to the stated intent. The actual results just don't matter to them.


>If you truly wanted to curb sex trafficking, you’d legalize prostitution

Yes, because legalized prostitution has totally curbed sex trafficking in places where it is legal like Nevada and Germany.

Oh, except that it hasn't. Not even remotely.


How... does that follow? To reduce slavery, legalize prostitution?

There must be some steps in between I am missing.


Right now prostitution is associated with sex trafficking because it is illegal. There is no legal way to do the world's oldest profession.

If prostitution was legal and well-regulated like it is in many countries, then workers would have to be documented, they'd get workers' rights, etc. There are people willing to do sex work of their own free will, and if you create a normal market for it, then people will not resort to illicit, lower-quality secondary markets dependent on sex trafficking.

Here's the analogy: to reduce drug violence, legalize drugs.


Legal prostitutes can call the police for help from pimps or others trying to abuse or coerce them, without fear of arrest.

Legal prostitutes are incentivized to work with the police to report others being coerced, it’s competition.

Bringing things out into the open helps clean them up. Keeping them in the dark allows evil to multiply. The next time Prohibition helped the people it was trying to protect will also be the first time.


Also, and directly related to your Prohibition comment, and to war on drugs - it's a matter of economics. Supply and demand. There is strong demand that you can't really eliminate. If you keep supply illegal, then supply becomes handled by organized crime, and all proceeds from the sale of goods/services go into growing organized crime.


Thanks for your comment, and the others in the thread too. I think I must be tinted by how it works in Sweden. First of all, the word "trafficking" there is most of all associated with the trade of minors. Also, soliciting sex ("prostitution") is not illegal for adults. Buying the service is. This has some interesting implications. It caters to the "conservative base" who does not want to see fully legalized prostitution. It also protects "workers" who can always go to the police. It also makes it very clear, that unfortunately, there is a market for sex slaves, especially for children. Some will apparantly make an extra effort to pay for abusing a child. Given human nature, I expect these low-lifes must exist in the US too.

Which is why the Prohibition thing rings false with me, especially the alcohol one. Alcohol was pretty much enjoyed by everyone to various degrees. Buying sexual services, while popular, not as much. So it's an analogy, but not the greatest. (Also ignoring that most sexual services are bought by men, while alcohol was/is used to a much larger degree by both sexes.)


Whores don’t go to the police in Norway not because they won’t help with assault and such but because the police will get them evicted from their flats.

https://books.google.nl/books?id=RAXtCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT172&lpg=P...


The same book says traffickers are less likely to operate in Sweden since the law was introduced.


Traffickers would be even less likely to operate in Sweden if the penalty was death by crucifixion. Do you also support that?

Forgive me if I’m not especially impressed by the think of the children rhetoric. Drawing a line from Lutherans to modern day Sweden isn’t exactly hard. The judgmental attitude hasn’t changed one iota.


You're missing the fact that virtually no one wants to have sex with slaves. If a legal, regulated industry existed for people to get what they wanted, the illegal market would go away. AFAIK Nevada doesn't have a huge issue with sex slaves.


True, Nevada doesn't, but neither do any of the other 49 states.


The goal is immaterial. The effect is an unconscientable abridgement of the rights to free speech and free association, all in the name of dubious and ineffective effort to prevent "harm", where "harm" is apparently defined as acting in a way contrary to utopian social engineers.


It’s not misguided, it’s deliberate. Broad restrictions on prostitution and adult services were wanted by conservatives based on family values, liberals are favoring regulations on speech due to identity politics. I’m sure both groups honestly want to help the trafficked, and they came together to both get what they want, and pat themselves on the back at the same time.


> Broad restrictions on prostitution and adult services were wanted by conservatives

I severely doubt that conservatives want anything of the sort. What they do want is for internet companies to take responsibility for keeping kids off their sites which is not that big of an ask if they would just stop their whining and do it.


Isn't this specifically tailored to address human trafficking concerns? What makes you think this has something to do with kids on the internet? I always had the impression that exploiters are rarely kids.

> which is not that big of an ask

Giving false credentials during signups is a more common practice than what is believed, especially for digital natives. How can you truly ascertain the age of users without mass surveillance practices?


>The goal of the legislation

The goal isn't relevant. Nobody opposes the goal of ending sex trafficking. The issue is passing laws that restrict freedom and seek to regulate the interpersonal behavior of adults at the point of a gun. Laws should be judged and scrutinized based on their actual impact, not the goals and desires of the people who draft them.


The intention is a lie. Much like the Patriot Act was a lie.

The chilling effects are 100% intentional.

The goal is to target any personal section that does not actively moderate content.


I've often thought that legislation that is enacted with a specific outcome in mind should come with an initial expiration date. At that point we could evaluate the effectiveness and unintended consequences and decide if the law should be made permanent.


Laws should be evaluated by their effect, not the intentions behind them.


I'd agree the former may carry more weight, but the latter remains consequential.


If they wanted to help victims of sex trafficking, they'd stop arresting and deporting them when they're found. That's the whole reason they can't just go to the police or run away or ask for help from their clients. They don't want to be sent back to where they came from with no money.


This is an extraordinarily broad action to take in response to sex trafficking. It clearly reaches into all kinds of unintended areas.


> The goal of the legislation in question is specifically to help individuals that have been coerced, against their free will

The key is in the definition of coercion. Was violence threatened? Is a person physically restrained? If so, that's coercion. When the law starts to deal with "psychological coercion" it denies agency to adults.


Do you mean to lead discussion with what legislation intends or what legislation does? Because many things take on a life beyond what authors intend, and it's not like legislature, a contentious body, is one person with a single mind.


And I’m sick and tired of governments doing nothing to restrict the freedoms of companies and individuals to screw over people in order to profit. I guess it’s just different viewpoints.

Some would say that state provided healthcare restricts freedom and choice, I would say that not having to worry about paying for healthcare gives a person a huge amount of freedom.

People have different views of what constitutes freedom, and I certainly don’t see it as a universally good thing in every circumstance. I would say countries like the US are very “free”, and countries like those in Scandinavia, Germany perhaps, possibly less so along many lines, and yet the latter have a much higher quality of life, lower poverty, better education, etc.


> I am fucking sick and fucking tired of people interfering with the free choice of individuals in any effort to "fix" society and "help" people.

What is shocking is that it is the liberals who are now pushing for more censorship, more control and less individual freedom.

Growing up, it was usually the conservatives/religious who wanted rap, violent video games, blasphemy, etc banned and censored. And their argument was to "protect children, women and society". Now, the push for censorship and control is being spearheaded by the liberals. And just like with the conservatives, it is to "protect children, women and society".

What a sorry state of affairs we are in right now. So disappointing.


> Growing up, it was usually the conservatives/religious who wanted rap, violent video games, blasphemy, etc banned and censored.

You weren't paying attention—except for blasphemy, those things were from across the spectrum: the most prominent figure for censorship of music (including rap) was Tipper Gore, who was only “conservative” in the sense that the dominant faction of the Democratic Party is center-right. Similarly, the Clinton Administration was active in promoting online censorship in law.

> Now, the push for censorship and control is being spearheaded by the liberals.

It wasn't a liberal Congress that just passed the bill that has is discussing censorship, so I think again you are falsely attributing something they exists across the political spectrum tomone side, just making the error in the opposite direction.


> You weren't paying attention—except for blasphemy, those things were from across the spectrum:

I didn't say it was only the conservatives/religious. I said it was usually them. Sure, tipper gore was against rap, but it was also the liberals who defended rap music.

> It wasn't a liberal Congress that just passed the bill that has is discussing censorship, so I think again you are falsely attributing something they exists across the political spectrum tomone side, just making the error in the opposite direction.

Once again. I didn't say only liberals are censoring now. I said the liberals are the ones spearheading the push for censorship.

The conservatives/religious have always been for censorship. Now the liberals have joined them. Even more, they are the ones spearheading censorship in much of the internet, etc. I'm sure the conservatives/religious are more than happy to follow along.

Just because I said liberals are bad doesn't mean that I think conservatives are good. Liberals seem to always think that because they live in a black and white world. Liberals and conservatives can both be bad.


What we don't look at is how prostitution is tied to the financialization of higher education. We could end a lot more prostitution by forgiving student loan debt rather than using the police to intercede in between sexual partners to try to deduce their motives. If we make higher education free and forgive student loans the motivation to get money no matter what it takes will go away. There are escorts who got into the business to pay for medical school. We have driven the cost of education so high that students are willing to take amazing risks to avoid lifelong debt.


This is the natural consequence of willingly giving so much money and power to our "big" governments. Surprise, surprise - they will use it.


Governments have regulated human relationships for as long as there have been governments. Sex was under ecclesiastical law in medieval and early modern Europe, and adultery and prostitution have been criminalised and/or regulated from the early days of the American colonies.

"Big" government is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history; this long predates it.


>I am fucking sick and fucking tired of people interfering with the free choice of individuals in any effort to "fix" society and "help" people.

What about seatbelts? Speed limits? Or childproof caps on medicine?


And let's not forget these are the small government, personal-freedom pushing Republicans perpetrating this shit.


FOSTA passed the Senate 97-2... I don't think that's a fair assessment in this instance


Authored by a Republican, with 43 Republican co-sponsors and 27 Democratic co-sponsors.

But, your criticism of my comment was fair.


On that note, I wonder how many people might disagree with the bill's heavy-handedness but don't want to be seen as "opponents" to something like FOSTA.


In several states adultery is still illegal, though I believe a misdemeanor in most, in some (Idaho, for one), it's a felony.

Regardless of how few people have been sanctioned criminally recently (and fun fact, in some of those states adultery is a crime only a woman can commit...), very very few politicians want to be the one to formally repeal laws against "the sanctity of marriage", however antique they may be.


Sounds to me like the market suddenly has new pent up demand for a personals site. Who will disrupt?


This was a free choice made by a private corporation. Surely they are exercising their rights here? No?


>I am fucking sick and fucking tired of people interfering with the free choice of individuals

I'm not. Because we've done nothing for long enough.

>Sometimes, people just fucking disagree.

If you're going to pretend to care about philosophical principles, you could start with being honest.


They should stop enforcing laws about driving while intoxicating. It really cramps the style of some people I know. They should also stop regulating messaging and advertising on pharmaceuticals, because freedom of speech.... right?

I get that you complaining about encroachment upon libertarian ideals, but sometimes the complaints are just extreme baseless absurdities.

Maybe I am just having trouble empathizing since I don't go online shopping for sexual encounters.


Pushing this market off the internet and back onto the streets will increase the murder rate of sex workers. This bill will literally kill people. See Scott Cunningham at Baylor who specializes in the economics of Sex Work and other criminal markets.


This is completely bizarre, we can't go down this route with the internet. It is madness.


Unfortunately we've had a very poor week for internet freedom. However much of it has been the result of corporate overreach.

This week: Reddit bans Cigar, beer and Alchohol trading subreddits, toy bb gun sales, and gun related coupon clippers

Youtube (and facebook?) banned Channels featuring guns they deem inappropriate. Including videos regarding proper safety and maintenance.

It has become clear to be that the internet is naturally monopolistic in a way physical institutions are not. One simply cannot move their gun channel, or the cigar trading forum to other sites and have a decent chance of maintaining even 10% of their customers. What happens if google also decides that they don't want these things to show up in search results. We need regulation to ensure that these platforms remain open for all types of users, not regulation that forces more content off these platforms.


I screwed up and accidentally chambered two 12ga shells in my Remington 870, it was a potential dangerous accident but found video to help me safely un-f the situation. Also I found a "bug" that allowed me to shoot, under a strange condition, my 9mm when the safety was on. Found out what not to do on youtube to avoid that situation. Also couldn't figure out what this knob was on my 10/22, turns out its a critical feature after finding it on youtube. This sucks I won't be able to find this type of information literally typing the gun model and the name of the problem to see a video to help me out as easily as yesterday.


Go start GunTube and make a buck or two!

I was reading earlier today people are uploading their gun vids to PornHub.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-21/youtube-b...


> I was reading earlier today people are uploading their gun vids to PornHub.

Funny thing is, my coworker and I were talking about this earlier today... we ended up agreeing that it wouldn't be surprising at all if PornHub ends up creating an SFW site under a different name (VidHub?) for things like this.


It already exists: it's called Full 30. I am guessing not a lot of people use it because it's not YouTube.


These problems can also be avoided by not owning guns.


And you can avoid gross plumbing problems by not owning a plunger. You can have professionals with plungers deal with that.

Frankly, it's a privilege to able to rely on public and paid services to protect you and your property. Not everyone gets the same service levels and not everyone can afford to pay to fix the problem.


And do those professionals need access to YouTube tutorials to see how to use the plunger?


My Dad, who used to build houses professionally and has been renovating his own house recently in preparation of selling it, told me the other day "Check Youtube before doing anything around the house. There's so much information there, tips, tricks, things I never encountered back in the day."

So yeah, I would imagine they probably do watch some videos on their profession on there, like I watch videos about game design and programming on there sometimes.


You're missing my point. I'm arguing that self-defense is like a plunger... something you don't want to be without when you need it. And, like plumbing problems, it's a privilege to say "well, just have a professional deal with your violence problems".

But, yes, there are a few extra steps to unclog a bathtub with a plunger. YouTube videos are pretty handy there.


I'm sure.like any professional they use the tools at their disposal. There are new makes and models coming out every year. Why wouldn't a professional use YouTube as a reference? Would a programmer get scoffed at for referring to stack overflow?


How many times have firearms been fired on your property in an act of protection? When was the last time?


Have you ever encountered a wild bear?


I think we need to start using the book burning metaphor. Google, Facebook, et al are doing the modern equivalent of burning books. The government shouldn't stop private individuals from burning books, but the public should recoil in horror.


"It has become clear to be that the internet is naturally monopolistic in a way physical institutions are not. One simply cannot move their gun channel, or the cigar trading forum to other sites and have a decent chance of maintaining even 10% of their customers."

That's funny - I thought that exactly the opposite was true.

The Internet (not particular sites, not AOL or "the facebook", but The Internet) is naturally un-monopolistic because you can, in fact, just move your video channel to your own website and do whatever you'd like there.

In fact, it's trivially easy to do so - you can probably accomplish the entire task using only your telephone.

If you feel that this is not the case I think you've made yourself fragile to services and processes that have nothing to do with The Internet.


It takes a lot more time, expertise, and money to run a website (even a simple wordpress site) than to upload videos to youtube.


You are right about that. And yet, the alternative seems to be "I want to exercise my constitutional rights, but I want a private company to make it easy, fight for me when legal problems arise, and foot the bill".


And just a few hours ago the Cloud Act passed as part of the Omnibus bill.

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


What about the “internet freedom” of those sites to tell people they don’t want to go away?

This legislation isn’t that but your examples are.


>This week: Reddit bans Cigar, beer and Alchohol trading subreddits, toy bb gun sales, and gun related coupon clippers

Reddit also banned subs that were used for sourcing marijuana, designer drugs, xanax.. direct deals onsite.

i'm not defending the drug war, but when you only include the subs you wrote the move looks really silly. if people were only doing giveaways and trading toy bb guns, those subs would still be open. the fact is reddit was being used by vendors for direct deals of illegal shit, and in order to put that to a stop reddit had to ban all sourcing.


While I'm not saying they should have banned one, and not the other it would have been entirely possible to say ban an opioids sales subreddit, but not the bb-gun subreddit. It would have been trivial to simply make the rule such that only illicit sales/transactions were banned. They decided to create these rules and if the rules make reddit look foolish than maybe thats because they are.


Take the challenge from their side. If they leave the bb-gun sub active, how do they ensure that people aren't going to the bb-gun sub, and trading real guns there? They'd have to have humans police each post, or develop ML algorithms that can reliably identify when someone is hiding a real gun sale as a bb-gun sale. The former doesn't scale reliably (sure, the mods of the bb-gun sub could probably do it voluntarily, but I doubt reddit wants to bet the corporation on their continuing to do so), and the latter doesn't yet exist.

Banning both subs definitely stops the illegal transactions at the (relatively minor) cost of not letting people trade bb-guns on their site.


> Banning both subs definitely stops the illegal transactions

Big ol' [citation needed]. This just moves it to r/beaniebabytrades, where you have to not explicitly say you're trading firearms. The only way this helps is by making those subreddits less discoverable, but anyone with an interest in guns will go to another subreddit, and get clued in by the members there.


"Limited edition Beary Garcia" is code-word for submachine gun.


But what stops people from trading real guns on ANY subreddit?


Ok but for instance research chemicals are legal to posses, so they aren't illicit, but vending them from reddit basically amounts to drug dealing.


Reddit also refuses to ban /r/entexchange because the Silicon Valley liberals that run it like weed but hate guns.

So, reddit is moralizing, has a logically inconsistent position, and deserve to be called out for that.


I think we need to realize that the platforms that we all use are evil. They are literally the equivalent of the book burning that happened hundreds of years ago, based on their own view of the world.

I want a new internet in which content is NOT posted on platforms. I want to host my own videos and host my own pictures.

This is where we are going. I really hope that the greater public realizes little by little that the tradeoff of the ease of use of those platforms is that they lose all freedom of speech or control over their content.

Not acceptable.


The internet is not "the internet" any more. It's a corporate owned, tapped and monitored, centralized data warehouse. Another decentralized network needs to be formed separately adhering to the original ideals of the internet. In fact this turnover may need to happen periodically. Jump ship from the current so-called internet.


I wonder how long it will take to ban that too, like is Bitcoin ban imminent? Perhaps not a ban, but a legislation rendering it practically useless due to compliance burden. Modern congress now acts impulsively, fast, like in basketball.


It is all impulse with zero long term goals in America.

This is infrastructure is poor in some places, some areas have failing infrastructure (such as flint MI)

These types of projects require an elected official to see beyond their term limits. Something few of them can do.


Members of the US Congress can serve unlimited terms.


I'm guessing the parent comment meant their term.

i.e. see beyond the need to focus on short-term sugar highs for voters, to get re-elected every 2/4/6 years.

Politicians think short-term for the same reason public CEOs so often do: near-term placating to retain their position.


It is in fact governments doing most of the malicious things to the Internet. China firewall, Russia, US espionage & data abuse, Turkey or Brazil censorship, British hate crimes on YouTube or Twitter, anti-porn legislation in Britain or Australia, and so on.

I can relatively easily block Facebook if I want to, on every site I visit. Try figuring out a way to eliminate all of the NSA's data hoovering of you. Tell the TSA you're not giving them your device, etc.

The Cloud Act is government legislation, that was not initially promoted by private industry. Private industry gave in over time because the alternative the government would pursue instead is far scarier. It was a compromise to keep the politicians in DC from doing something even more draconian. I don't agree with that compromise, however, just try saying no to them (see the Yahoo fines).


You are welcome to build your own internet already, and not connect it to any bgp peers or ICANN root nameservers. But I think you will find that achieving a 1000 km size scale at OSI layer 1 is very very costly, nevermind making it global.


I spent a couple of months working on drafts and unreleased prototypes of decentralized P2P networks, but eventually, it comes full circle.

The internet already functions well enough for purposes of decentralization. Sure, there are some clear improvements and some less clear trade-offs that could be made, but the brass tacks is that these are social issues, not technical ones. They have to be addressed at the social level.

There has been some shadowy coordinated push behind the scenes over the last week, corresponding with the CLOUD Act and other dubious events, as described above. I believe this is just the beginning of such coordinated pushes. There are powerful forces at work looking to assert their authority and control over the open diaspora of the internet.

Americans take free speech for granted, but they forget that open forums where anyone can make a strong argument that lives and dies on its own merit are extremely dicey for the status quo power structure.

My belief is that the 2016 election pushed some fence-sitters over into the belief that the internet as constituted is a threat to their power, and that they are working triple-time to fix the situation. Ultimately, I believe this will evolve into something like a government verification and ID check system before someone is allowed to publish, and a YouTube-like strike system that will take away those rights as people are "abusive" or otherwise express wrongthink.

The relatively-free internet of the 90s and 00s will be driven into the darkweb where anyone interested in accessing non-corporate-approved content can be trivially mischaracterized as "a Russian agent or sympathizer" (if not much, much worse). What just happened with the purge on reddit is part of that.

The internet has been re-AOLized over the last several years as massive tech companies have consolidated against the grassroots nature of the homegrown internet. The CFAA and the Copyright Act allow companies to sue the living crap out of anyone who tries to free user data, and Google et al now have the resources to enforce this thoroughly.

The long and short of it is that a new network or protocol may offer some nice features, but it's not going to solve the key problem that ensures maintaining a free marketplace for ideas will always be hard: the rich and powerful don't like things that may threaten said richness and power. The internet is arguably the most powerful such tool invented since the printing press.

As another commenter expressed above, the real question is why this has taken them so long.


Some people became "rich and powerful" because of the relatively-free internet of the 90s and 00s. Why aren't they objecting?


Charitable reading: because they don't want to end up hauled before Congress and raked over the coals like Bill Gates was.

Less charitable: they already made their money and are fine with pulling up the ladder.


It’s been that for about 20 years, roughly.


Wow! I met my wife just over 7 years ago there, and our 2nd kid is due in a few months. Hard to believe that the personals section is gone.


It's definitely changed over the past 7 years, being filled with mostly escort/sugar baby ads in recent times.


Which only happened because they were first forced to close the previous escort sections several years ago.


Using CL personals led me to a blind date with a Canadian 16 years ago. Still on that date :)


Did they kidnap you?


Did get swept off my feet, but never forced.


Since I'm a relatively old guy, I'll tell you how it used to work. Before cell phones, online dating and apps, the way people met people was through friends, or at work, or god forbid, randomly approaching a stranger and introducing oneself, usually at a nightclub or bar, but sometimes at a supermarket or cafe. Rejection happened in one's face publicly in front of other people!


And back in my day your parents would find a good match for you and that would be that. You youngsters screwed up the whole courting scene. It used to be a man could get a good wife if he only had a job. Then you needed charm. And the whippersnappers of today are even worse! Using text!


Plenty of people also met through newspaper personal ads...


Someone just shared their heartwarming tale about how they met their spouse using craigslist personals and you have the audacity to tell them that their story is illegitimate because "back in my day" people met differently? Have some heart and recognize that their story of how they met is legitimate, cherished, and deserves protection.


I'm just trying to provide some historical information for millenials.


I'm a millenial and even I think dating apps are for pussies.


It sucked in comparison.

Met my first wife at college, the "old school" way. Met my current wife through OKCupid (after seeing another girl I was dating at the time using it).

I knew more about my second wife before I'd ever messaged her. Saves a lot of wasted effort simply basing the book on its cover.


That sounds awful. So much pressure to place on what ought to be everyday interactions!


Don’t forget the video dating.


Like VHS


Ohhhh yeah. Go watch some of the videos on yt. Their brutally awkwardly hilarious.


Curious to know what city you lived in when you met. I also met my wife via an online dating site about 7 years ago, and at the time we were under the impression that CL personals were super sketch. Obviously it isn't that way everywhere, but where I am (Palo Alto) that was the belief among all of my friends.


97-2 in Senate. Probably only sex and drugs have such universal magical power over politicians of all colors.


If only NASA could say that they found on Mars a new substance that probably eliminates the desire to do drugs... We'd be having a golden age of space exploration now.


If NASA discovered oil on Mars, we'd be there years ago. (Something liberation something something...)


FWIW, it's raining natural gas on Titan.


...and raining diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter. Surely there is a frothy Series A to be had here somewhere.


Forget hydrocarbons and diamonds, the Helium-3 mining is the next candidate for the hype curve.


I thought we're already past He-3 hype?


How soon will reddit follow? The great purge has started. Guns removed from YouTube and reddit. Now meet up portions are being nuked.


They’ve already started banning all the subs about escorts, prostitution, sugar daddies, etcetera today in response.

Also subs like BeerTrade, BazaarMarkets , and other marketplaces. Say goodbye to an era.

I’m sure many more will get the axe over time.


I do wonder how long until they start banning amateur porn subs like gonewild, they facilitate cam girl advertising there with no controls for age or trafficking status.


I doubt reddit is happy about the popularity of porn on their site in general. Look at /r/all with the NSFW filter off and it's like 10% porn. That can't be good when they're trying to attract advertisers. I agree it won't be long until they start cracking down on it, probably using possible child pornography or sex trafficking as an excuse.


gw groups are the only thing keeping me on reddit at this point.


decentralized network can't come soon enough. I foresee YC, Reddit, Youtube, FB, and alike get supplanted by technology that has no ownership.


Every single decentralized version of those sites has died a death due to a) being pretty awful b) attracting completely terrible users as it’s base c) terrible user experience.

What do you see changing?


> What do you see changing?

As the internet becomes a resource that is completely boring and out of touch to 15-40 year olds people will flock to a less restrictive system. As eyeballs move over people will invest time and effort into making those systems usable.

This happened with the internet and can happen again with decentralized systems.


The internet is pretty much as decentralized as things get while remaining accessible and available to the general public. There is room for some tweaking here, but even if a parallel "NewNet" rose up, it'd come to suffer the same set of problems.

"Decentralized", "peer-to-peer", and "distributed" are not just magic words that make the whole world better. Consider BitTorrent as a case study. Probably the largest "decentralized" tech success story in internet history ... and it depends on a central core of pre-baked trackers, safe DHT bootstrap nodes, and search engines to be usable.

The internet is plenty decentralized technically. The problems we have are that big companies want to get paid and they want to make sure little companies won't threaten their ability to do that. So we get shameful abuses like the CFAA and the RAM Copy Doctrine.

The further problem is that governments and other establishment power brokers want to control narratives. They've been able to do this pretty well for the last 50 years, as your average Joe on the street couldn't just start broadcasting video and competing with the television broadcasts from FCC-approved speakers. But with YouTube, the average Joe can. That is a huge threat to the power brokers.

People are working overtime to make others feel that so much as grunting a sound that sounds similar to the word "Tor" means you're an evil traitor. I don't think that the young, who know little besides the status quo by definition since they haven't experienced much yet..

To save the internet, get out there and teach people about the value of an open forum and free dialogue, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Work hard to counter-influence the negative and evil influences. Abolish the CFAA, revamp Copyright to something sane.

Just whatever you do, don't spend 10 years reinventing the internet just to make us go through this show again in 15 years when Netv2 gets the same treatment.

Pre-edit: literally falling asleep while typing this, excuse any errors etc. Going to sleep now. Goodnight.


> People are working overtime to make others feel that so much as grunting a sound that sounds similar to the word "Tor" means you're an evil traitor. I don't think that the young, who know little besides the status quo by definition since they haven't experienced much yet..

Hey, only one part got FUBAR'd. Relatively coherent for semi-consciousness! Fixing:

People are working overtime to make others feel that so much as grunting a sound that sounds similar to the word "Tor" means you're an evil traitor. I don't think that the young, who've experienced little beyond the status quo by definition, can be expected to automatically defy and overcome this.

Preserving/rebuilding the internet as a free space will take a much more intense effort than just lobbing the ball across the fence to the next generation and crossing our fingers that they'll figure something out.


>Probably the largest "decentralized" tech success story in internet history ... and it depends on a central core of pre-baked trackers, safe DHT bootstrap nodes, and search engines to be usable.

I get the feeling you're not very involved in the private tracker community.


I've been using private trackers since OiNK was small. I still tend my HDBits account, which is over 10 years old at this point.

Private torrents are even more susceptible to these problems than public torrents, for several reasons.

a) They have the private flag set instructing the client not to use DHT to find peers.

b) They have the user's token embedded directly in the torrent, making it unsafe to share the file. Stripping the token will make it safe to share the file, but can't actually use it, since private trackers won't serve peers to a client without a token.

c) The torrents rely on a single tracker. Public torrents can throw on a handful of trackers that accept all comers, granting extra redundancy when outages occur.

d) Private trackers are the only search engines that index that specific corpus of data, and they typically have rules preventing users from sharing "internal" or "exclusive" content.

You're right that I'm no longer really "involved in the private tracker community" because I find the invite swapping tedious and mostly just stopped caring (didn't do anything to track down and get an account at "the next What.CD", for example), but private trackers only emphasize BitTorrent's dependencies on centralized brokers.


Decentralized is the ultimate tech fantasy. It never happens at mass consumer scale. There isn't a single example of that in the last 25 years of the Internet. The reason it never happens, is because most people with a heavy tech-tilt don't understand normal users at all. They fail to understand that they're an extreme minority in terms of product behavior.

You can dig back a decade or whatever on HN, it's a non-stop talking fest about decentralized, everytime anything negative happens, whether this or Facebook or whatever. And yet, ten years later, nothing. Everything mass consumer tech is centralized.


Email is decentralized! The web is decentralized, though many platforms built on top of it aren't. And it's not such a stretch for ordinary people to build websites directly - remember Geocities?


botcoin did happen though.

So it is not that unimaginable


There's at most a dozen big miners, three big pools and a hand full of exchanges.


(b) might flip. Naturally, a majority of people using decentralized solutions were looking to circumvent something, and that something used to be things like drug laws. But the more things get taken away on the "public" internet, the more reason there is for everyday folks to start going dark.

If my mom wants to go on a date, and Craiglist, Tinder and OkCupid are all shut down - why wouldn't she use a service that's still around due to it being Dark?


Ordinary people wanting an alternative, would, I imagine, change all three.


They will want an alternative but there’s no compelling (to the average user) reason why it has to be a decentralized alternative.


> What do you see changing?

The amount of people being removed from mainstream sites and looking for alternatives. At the very least these growing numbers will solve b and may have a significant impact on a and c as well.


The problem with a decentralized network is that bad actors with disproportionate resources can flood the system.

Consider Russia & Cambridge Analytica - they would put hundreds and thousands of people on creating propaganda. There is no "solve" for well resourced bad actors usurping the decentralized system.


A lot of the drug related subreddits were about harm reduction, especially finding reputable suppliers for psychedelics. This is book burning, plain and simple. It starts out with the unsavory books.


If you mean Reddit's Personals, a major difference is that the posts don't use pictures--and it's not like the posters use their first and last name as their username or anywhere in their post--so hopefully that'll keep it safe. After all, the main personals section has "148,372 readers" and right now, as of 11:57 PM Eastern Time, "1,946" are logged in. https://www.reddit.com/r/r4r/


"If you mean Reddit's Personals, a major difference is that the posts don't use pictures"

Craigslist did not require ads to have pictures, and there were plenty of ads that didn't have them.


Curious here, how does lack of pictures or first/last name have any bearing here? From what I understand, any of these reasons could also apply to reddit as well.


Guns removed from YT and reddit are totally different. They're corporations choosing to ban certain content from their own platform.

Craigslist is responding to a change in the law, which isn't comparable.


It's comparable insofar as, in each case the sociopolitical temperature of the moment has resulted in a reduction of the content available to users, even if the actual dynamic varies in the important ways you point out.


But one is through mandated censorship, the other is voluntary. YouTube decided to stop serving certain content to better serve it's customers, that is it's perogative as a business. Nothing is preventing a competitor from hosting such content.


its hard to see that its anything but censorship when these platforms hold a pure monopoly on the space. If Gutenberg prevented anything displeasing to him from being printed, we would rightly see that as censorship. Further, censorship takes place in many ways only a small number are the result of state actors. In Mexico reporting on the cartels will cause them to target and perhaps kill you.


If you want to argue that a good defense against censorship is to prevent a single entity from having too much power, I agree.


One is mandated, other is voluntary, but they both reflect the same phenomenon happening in the society - that more and more topics are becoming "not acceptable" and thus get eliminated from popular areas on-line.


I can never understand how can Reddit's subs, such as girlsgonewild, not require proof that the participants are indeed adults who are not being exploited by others.

On the other hand it might be better a better deal for a number of people to perform webcam "modeling" instead of being constantly exploited as a sex slave.


I wonder if this is why they axed all of their "firearms sales"

https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/reddit-bans-communities-...

     The social site has updated its policies to ban
     the trade of firearms, explosives, drugs (including
     alcohol and tobacco), services with "physical sexual 
     contact," stolen goods, personal info and 
     counterfeits. Accordingly, Reddit has shut down 
     numerous subreddits that either directly traded 
     in these goods or were clearly meant to enable those 
     exchanges, including r/gunsforsale, r/stealing (yes, 
     it existed) and r/darknetmarkets.

Perhaps they were taking a broad interpretation of something in the legal language.


What gun vids were removed from Youtube? I heard about this controversy yesterday, I just looked up "Glock 19 safety tips" and there were over 200,000 videos.


They are getting scrubbed in April. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7667605?hl=en


That rule seems fairly narrow to me. Selling certain accessories, modifying the guns, etc. I am hoping the ones I've watched on Youtube about people firing and reviewing different guns will not be affected.


It'll be interesting to see how other dating sites (okcupid, match.com, tinder, etc) handle this. If they manage to stay open, this could wind up benefiting them, as craiglist users migrate over.

But if they shut down, and newspapers posting personals also run afoul of this law, then this could be a boon to bars and other, more traditional ways of meeting people.


> this could be a boon to bars and other, more traditional ways of meeting people

That is insanely optimistic, randomly meeting people in a bar is significantly more dangerous than a prearranged meet, and the first thing most people do after contact online is go to a bar or public meeting point anyway.

What is a “traditional” way of meeting someone? Through your parents?


"What is a "traditional" way of meeting someone? Through your parents?"

Through friends, hobbies, volunteering, bars, clubs, parties, and various other forms of group entertainment like concerts, plays, etc.

Pretty much anywhere people meet face to face counts.


> Pretty much anywhere people meet face to face counts.

But that's the problem, right? People used to do their banking in a bank, get their books in a library, their toothpaste in a drug store, their music in a record store, etc.

Now they do all of that online without leaving home. So they need to meet people online too.


"they need to meet people online too"

You don't need to convince me. I see the value of online dating.


I think that there are three kinds of people that would support this bill:

A) sincere people for whom 1 victim is too many and any tactic is worth reducing the victim count by any amount

B) people too afraid to be labeled as pro sex trafficking

C) people who want weapons to silence speech and are using A and B

I don’t know how you would go about determining the mix, but I am sure the C group will show their hand soon enough when we see calls for shutting down platforms that were used to support political rivals, after they fail to police user content on their site.


Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have a lot of escorts having a profile. Are their CEO also at risk? Are they planning to remove these profiles? Is Facebook Marketplace at risk? Has someone some info?


> The bill amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 10 years, or both—on a person who, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (or attempts or conspires to do so) to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.

How do you define promoting or facilitating prostitution? Eg. Does WhatsApp fall foul of this? Email? Basically any communication service can be used for this...


How far-reaching is FOSTA?

Say I'm in the US and happen to run a mailing list about some programming language or whatever. Someone posts an off-topic message that promotes prostitution with sex-trafficking victims. The message passes spam filters and is redistributed to the mailing list subscribers. Am I now criminally liable for facilitating this, as the mailing list operator?

If so, shouldn't CL be shutting down everything entirely?

If I'm not liable, on the other hand (that is to say, I have an "off topic defense"), then why can't that apply to CraigsList; they can just say that anything of that sort is off topic. At the very least they could keep the "strictly platonic" category where that sort of promotion is off topic.


Rather than stopping undesirable activity, this will merely push it to platforms and protocol that are out of the US government's control.


It might, or it might not. And even if it did, then so what? I think the attitude you expressed is equivalent to: well since there is no way to actually stop the slave trade from using some platform, US companies might as well profit from it.


Not at all. If a certain law does not solve the intended problem and it poses costs on innocent bystanders (e.g. website administrators who are not involved in any illegal activity), then it might need to be reconsidered. The equivalent attitude would be: Requiring everyone shit in the sink and wash their hands in the toilet is not going to solve insider trading, so we should not make that a requirement. "So what, you support insider trading and letting people profit off private company information?" No, not at all. I just want to shit in the toilet and wash my hands in the sink. It won't make a difference to insider trading either way.


so we should shut off everything that has potential for slave trade? like phones? email? post mail? cars? what?


From someone who has dated prositutes and strippers.

I can tell you the ones I currently know and have dated have this view.

They enjoy sex. They are going to have it anyway. You are going to pay them with your time, your flowers, dinner, gifts, take them to do things. Their thing is why not take the money spend it on what they need as opposed to dinner etc. either way everyone! Is buying it and selling it


I’m confused. So they felt at risk by allowing adults to post personal ads in search of romantic connections but they leave open the “Services->Therapeutic” category that openly promotes ads for illegal rub-and-tug establishments that are frequently the target of sex trafficking raids.


I sent Craig an email this morning saying the same thing. I don't get why they close down the part of the website that was (mostly, I guess?) supporting people trying to get in a relationship and, I'm sure some sort of Tinder like hookups, and leave open the part where they actually have some real exposure. Doesn't make sense.


I own a leader classified ad website in my country (not the us). You cannot imagine the pressure we get from all directions to remove categories (regulation, companies, associations, etc). The free horizontal classified ad websites are slowly dying. In the future, as a customer, you should be prepared to pay for publishing an ad with skyrocketing fees due to regulation. Classified ads will be validated (vs moderated) as regulation tend to push the responsabilities on the website owner. The categories and the variety of allowed items will decrease due to regulation and commercial pressure (You can forget reselling your 10'000USD Gucci bag after a break up).


What if those sites move their operations to other countries


Ask Kim Dotcom


Don't need to go that far, other countries already have local alternatives that are happy for a void to be created where they can grow.


So, Craigslist no longer allows Americans to use personals because of FOSTA.

What's to keep Americans from going a foreign based service/server for their hookup needs? It wouldn't necessarily have to be Darknet, right?



I see supreme court challenges all over that.


Still up in Canada

Though it's mostly bots these days. Used to be a good place to get laid


Real sex trafficking is horrible but censorship can end up bad as well and harms the majority of people who aren't doing horrible things.

At least you knew where bad actors were as a sort of honeypot, closing down stuff like this just makes them go dark and spread like roaches. It is messed up to use 'trafficking' to go after porn as well.


Craigslist personals offered us a very clear view of the utter failure of authorities to combat sex trafficking.


The congress.gov link states "Section 230 limits the legal liability of interactive computer service providers or users for content they publish that was created by others." Wouldn't this exempt Craigslist from the act, since all posts are created entirely by their users?


The bill imposes criminal penalties -- Section 230 does not shield platforms from liability under federal criminal law.

The bill also carves out exceptions weakening Section 230 protections.

[1] https://www.eff.org//deeplinks/2018/03/how-congress-censored... [2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1865


These services already exist on the dark web and motivated users will migrate there instead. I think I'm neutral positive -- if this makes very public websites more accountable for their content that's fine. If you still want to pursue your ventures, devious or not, all you need to do is get the tools and knowledge to access the dark web. There's no doubt in my mind that the web we used to know has been taken over by politics and corporations -- the worst of cocktails. So here we are, the dark web is now the free web, and the free web is the corporate web. For me it will make no difference, I'll still have access to both, but for the uninitiated they will go from surfing the web to serfing the web.


So how long before these new powers are used for something other than suppressing prostitution? (Labeling all activity on such sites as "sex trafficking" is an attempt to control the language of the conversation, and should be avoided)


Are we getting to the point where private electronic conversations are all public? And all are "published" because they're stored on a server that can be accessed (legitimately or not) and therefore have to be censored.


What a terrible bill, it is retroactive and cover foreign commerce, meaning even operators of a foreign company could be charged when travelling through the US.

If as what I am reading in the comments and my intuition is right, the numbers prove unequivocally that this bill will have the effect of increasing sex trafficking and making investigating more difficult, is there a thin possibility that the lawmakers be charged under their own bill for knowingly voting it into law while possibly being aware of the effect it would have on sex trafficking?


They'll just move to the "therapeutic" section as masseuses. I totally respect the mission of preventing sex trafficking, but it just feels like they're playing whack-a-mole.


It feels like they're playing whack-a-mole using nukes, killing millions of non-moles trying to take out 1 mole.


This makes me sad. I never actually responded to any of the personals on Craigslist, but looking through them back in 2008 and seeing what I felt attraction to helped me understand and come to terms with the fact that I really am bisexual. Fast forward ten years and next month I'm marrying my same-sex partner. Not saying I wouldn't have figured that out without Craigslist personals, but I do feel strongly that there's value in having a space for people to broadcast their desire without moderation.


Doesn't it seem likely that an alternative will pop up which is outside the jurisdiction of FOSTA which may or may not cooperate with USA law enforcement as well?


Sad. I had several great dates from Craigslist personals.


I had several weird hookups from Craiglist. This is probably good for my health.


It’s just a matter of time before there is a code like “selling new pink shoes for roses” in the clothing section. Will they shut that down too?


This is a terrible step backwards for our country, no thanks to those who do not understand the newer information technologies, like the internet and social media, or appreciate the ridiculous criminalization of consensual sexual relations. CL may be gone, but I hope the structural, dynamic resilience of the web won't take long for workarounds and alternatives.


The intent of FOSTA was right in my opinion, if you are making money from these services then you should spend some of that money policing your services. That seems fair to me in theory. Not sure whether FOSTA got it right or wrong, but I do know some of these players did little to nothing to police their services, and brought about their own downfall.


At least you can still buy fake IDs, passports, and "green cards" on CL[0].

[0] https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/tix/d/make-your-passport-dr...


On the bright side, the "Rants and Raves" section has disappeared with it.



How are Craigslist personals more affected by this law/regulation than other semi-anonymous dating sites? Or am I mistaken in thinking that there is any dating site that has the same anonymity as Craigslist?


Craigslist, due to its success, became the target that all the activists complained about.

If the dating sites are next probably depends on what new target those same activists pick, because it seems unlikely they'll ever be content with their legislative victories.


It could be that the risk reward calculation is different for CL than other sites. Personals is just one part of a much larger site for CL where as a dating site's only business is personals so they really don't have anything to lose by taking the risk.


Right. Oh! Except for 25 years in prison.


Craigslist, from my casual observation (as someone who met my SO on there 9 years ago) had a lot of really obvious ads for sexworkers. They openly tolerated it for a while as long as it was in its own forum.

My guess is that enforcement actions will come down hardest on those with a reputation (like craigslist) for tolerating sex workers and who do, in fact (like craigslist) have a large proportion of ads from sex workers.


> Craigslist, from my casual observation (as someone who met my SO on there 9 years ago) had a lot of really obvious ads for sexworkers. They openly tolerated it for a while as long as it was in its own forum.

Its own forum was shut down under legal pressure some time ago, and it moved to other personals forums, as I understand.

Which is probably why they are now, with the new legal pressure, killing the personals forums.


This law is insane. It also impacts the operations of US companies overseas, where prostitution is legal. So for example, if a prostitute hosts their website on AWS, then Amazon is in violation of this law.


Maybe I'm misreading but it looks like this only passed the Senate - doesn't that mean it isn't law yet? Am I misreading or is this more of a protest?


But there's still the therapeutic section... They don't seem as concerned with prostitution as they're with litigation



Could someone explain to me how this isn't going to go down in flames to an immediate First Amendment challenge?


I think that's why more people aren't upset about it. The courts have been very effective at shutting down this sort of grandstanding.


The irony though is that the personal section will most likely just migrate to another section of the website.


And then potentially cause the entire website to fold when they are charged with sex trafficking in random places.


I see a new, open-source, peer-to-peer app that piggybacks on the Ethereum blockchain to provide personal ads.


Would an open source peer-to-peer personals board qualify as a 'platform' under this bill ?


I hope a lawyer will chime in, because this seems pretty obviously to be an indefensible law.

If you make analogies to other services, the justification falls apart. Are landlords responsible for weed dealers' business cards stuck to peg boards? Is USPS responsible for people mailing bombs?

Even under DMCA, no public/high-traffic communication service is responsible for its users this way.


Actually, a landlord can be responsible for tenant's drug dealing. https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/landlord-liab... Granted, they have to at least have a suspicion it is occurring, but there is potential liability there, and business cards stuck to a pegboard may be enough.


A better comparison would be that the privately owned toll road operator must check for drug traffickers itself or be shut down by a law like this.


I guess these service providers can now go back to the safety of the streets.


Obviously driving prostitution underground and out of reach of researchers will improve the lives of sex workers. Prostitution is a very recent industry and was invented by the internet


I know several people who met and got married with children on CL. It was a normal dating site, and it also has(d) "strictly platonic" and "missed connections"- all of it is shut down now. Are dating sites/Tinder next? We will miss the days when internet wasn't like cable TV.


I loved browsing the strictly platonic section looking for sweet/bizarre/novel posts, but it was definitely full content that was _not_ platonic.


You just have a narrow definition of 'platonic'. :)


Missed connections seems to have moved to "Community". [edit: moved as in "CL took it out of personals and relocated it altogether", not that users repurposed an existing forum]


It was definitely fun to find dates and quirky people on there. I was finding it especially useful now that I'm in a new city and just looking to meet new people.


I feel ya dude. I just moved to an entirely new city, and being in my 30's, meeting new people outside of work just isn't what it was in college. I met some pretty cool girls there. Yea, lots of creeps and prostitutes, but there were real people on there too if you took the time to screen them.


> Prostitution is a very recent industry and was invented by the internet

This statement ranks fairly high up on my "List of Hackernews' Statements that are indeed Very False".

It would be more apt to say that regulating and banning prostitution is a recent idea (recent as in "the last 100 years or so").


Both of their sentences were meant sarcastically.

I think people often use sarcasm to trot out trite topics because it seems less labored than restating such a popular point of view in earnest.


Oh well, not sure how I failed to pick up on that. I'll just blame it on the early hour and be on my way.


This is completely unrelated - but, one thing I love about comments on Hacker News is how well-written they are, and eloquent, too.


waiting for a new site to spring up in response...


Grindr next?


Would it be possible to update this post with a direct link to the Craigslist notice at https://www.craigslist.org/about/FOSTA?

It seems a bit... inappropriate to deep link to a screenshot posted by a Twitter user with a bio of "CRUSH THE PATRIARCHY DICK BY DICK! XY = man & XX = woman FOREVER"


I tried that, but apparently craigslist.org/com are filtered by the HN shadowban filter


I've been programmatically blocked from viewing their tweets through one of the various blocklists out there. So this submission shows a blocked feed for me (unless I sign out of Twitter). So any alternative link would be nice for me and other people who also may be blocked.

[0] https://i.imgur.com/pYANJau.png


Sure. I'm on my phone, though, so someone else will have to post the previous link.


Thanks :)


Can these companies (Craigslist, Reddit) open offices in Europe and run those sections of the website from there, somehow?


For a good time respond to this post and we can make financial arrangements ;)


Stop trafficking yourself!


I think we can all agree ycombinator is facilitating prostitution


I think you would need to spell out your [handler's] phone number's numbers for it to be "legit" solicitation.


We exchanged contact details (deleted the comments) and had a really great time. 5*, 10/10, would recommend to friends.


This is so poignant I don't see why it's being downvoted.


In general humorous Reddit-style comments aren't welcome here. Every community has its own standards.


I'm willing to gift you 10 roses per hour of time together. But I'm paying for your company only. If we choose to voluntarily play hide the bologna then that's our personal business. No dirty talk on the phone and no blocked numbers please.


Too much detail. No we all know about you.

Oh shit, now you all know about me.


I got a date off craigslist once and it wasn't good.


The craiglist Casual Encounters section destroys lives. It laid waste to mine. There have been many tear filled nights spent wondering who would I be now if I could delete that site from my history. A string of uncountable months searching for one new sexual partner after another. The principle expense paid includes a ledger of a life of total neglect for those who felt true love for me. And then the hot pattern takes hold again. The emails pile up of mostly men wanting pixels and sizes as a small part of my mind tells me to stop. But the fingers keep clicking. One blue link after another until I find what I do not need. Sex is a fire which begins to burn out of control for some of us. I cannot be the only one since the act takes at least two.


If you want to stop having casual sex but feel you can't control yourself, maybe you can have yourself committed to some sort of clinic, instead of trying to take away the possibility from everyone else too? (Which probably wouldn't even help, since if you're not hideously ugly you will probably find more then enough men willing to have sex with you without craigslist.)


We're taking our ball and going home. Very mature.

It's total BS, of course. People can just as easily advertise prostitution services in other sections of CL. Something tells me their deeply principled stand won't extend to shutting down the whole site.

Instead, they will take reasonable steps to control the proliferation of sex trafficking on their site.

Some magical force somehow precludes them from extending that same concept to personal ads, I guess.


I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

Even if you think it's all for show, this is a good way for Craigslist to use their ubiquity to lift FOSTA into the public eye. Nobody knows what FOSTA is much less the sort of impact it could have on their day to day.

But I suspect Craiglist's legal team isn't a bunch of idiots when it comes to toeing the line of prostitution. They outlived websites like Redbook even though they have obvious prostitution classifieds. I'd imagine they're experts.

It looks more like the Communications Act of 1934 was the centerpiece of their defense.


All platforms already restrict content they allow users to post, including CL. People still seem to express themselves freely despite those restrictions.

That CL would make a vindictive stand in defense of sex trafficking specifically is just bizarre.


CL openly allowed prostitution on their site just yesterday.

I wouldn't be so quick to call it self-evident that there was a better response than to immediately shut down their classifieds.

I'm sure there's more to do than just flicking a "filter prostitution: yes / no" switch on their admin panel.


No, CL has had explicit notices posted regarding prostitution for a long time and has actively moderated for overt prostitution. You can't compare now, but if you compare ads on Craigslist to other personals / services websites like Backpage, Craigslist has been quite PG-13-rated for a long time and at least forces posters to be a bit more subtle. The "massage" section is actually mostly pleasantly legit in my experience, assuming you're not in a big city.


This is why we need ows to make top alexia websits a utility!!

Imagine your electric provider cutting off your juice because CEO happen to be pro ozon layer guy and believes your fridge is too old and takes too much energy. Or your water company doesnt like you to wash your dog in your bathtub and cuts our water off suggesting t do that in your back yard. Or gas company does a survey and disagree that you cook lamb meat at home and shuts your gas, sggesting to switch to cooking poultry.

As billions of people visit these websites, they start to be super cruicial to quality of peoples lives! You can say “you gut cut off youtube go somewhere else”. There is nowhere to go! Same with other major sites.


Do you think ozonE was created by an act of Congress, like FOSTA? It's a business move to avoid legal liability.


I’m all for nationalisation when there is no innovation required and there is limited scope for competition (eg the state Uber’s taxi business is in and the examples you give - water is water and comes in a pipe, same for gas) but the top websites are nowhere near that stage, without competition and innovation they will never improve and go beyond what we currently have.




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