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Artists draw attention to modern slavery. From domestic slave to the Democratic Convention. Sex trafficking victim speaks out. Story highlights The bill that passed Congress may actually harm sex workers, critics say Internet forums provide protections for sex workers, who find work off streets.
Seeing her own reflection "was so traumatizing" for Stark, a transgender woman who hadn't yet undergone the surgical treatments she knew she needed. Some days, she couldn't leave the house. She tried taking her own life.
An Army veteran living with disability, she could not get this surgical care from her usual provider, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which does not pay for or perform gender transition-related surgeries. Stark calls Wisconsin home but mostly lives out of a suitcase, maintaining a busy schedule as an escort, adult film performer, photographer and phone sex operator. But now, her career is coming to an abrupt end after a bill passed by Congress in March.
Senate approves anti-sex-trafficking bill. I just call it the end of my career, essentially," she said. The bill, called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act , prompted the online bulletin board Craigslist to shut down its personal ads two days after its passage.
The bill was directed against sex trafficking, not the volitional career in sex work to which Stark credits her own survival. Craigslist is an online classifieds site, divided by city or geographic area, through which users advertise a range of goods, services, jobs and housing. Now awaiting the president's signature, the bill paves the way for sex trafficking survivors to hold websites accountable for "knowingly" facilitating their abuse. The legislation chips away at part of a act that gave a broad layer of immunity to online companies, such as Facebook or Twitter, from being held liable for what their users post.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. Though the bill aims to crack down on sex trafficking and protect survivors, critics say it threatens the lives and livelihoods of sex workers who choose to work in the profession by encouraging websites like Craigslist to censor their content -- pushing some sex workers back out to the street and removing their tools for finding and screening clients.
Some sex workers are already losing their housing as a direct result of forums like Craigslist personals going dark, according to Christa B. Daring, board president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Many pay rent week-to-week and struggle to feed themselves and their children, they said. Craigslist was the first site Stark used to transition away from the street, where she relied on her military training to make "snap judgments" to stay out of harm's way, dodge potentially dangerous clients and avoid getting arrested -- again.
Even with the advantage of her military training, however, "most often, physical appearance and demeanor really don't tell you a whole lot," she said. Many sex workers run background checks on clients, communicate through online forums and check "bad date lists," which sex workers create to warn others about hostile clients. Stark also has a mandatory hour waiting period before she agrees to meet clients, giving her time to check for criminal records and other warning signs.
She learned ways to stay safe and grow her business from other sex workers online, some of whom keep blogs. For decades, it's been the place where someone might find the perfect or most horrible roommate; a steal of a couch or total piece of junk; casual sex or even a spouse. The public nature of dating apps can make it harder to be forthcoming about just wanting sex, if that's what you're after.
One of my oldest childhood friends, for example, posted a Craigslist ad back in the mids and met her husband. Now they're expecting their second child! But answer the wrong ad, and there's a risk of being raped, murdered or falling into a sex-trafficking ring. As these ads go offline, we spoke to a year-old man in New York who used Craigslist's personal ads - specifically the casual encounters section - as a way of finding casual sex in his early 20s.
He spoke to us on condition of anonymity, because, well, that's what Craigslist personals were all about. It's part of what made them successful, he thinks.
Unlike dating apps that often require being linked to a social media account, on Craigslist you could be nameless and Facebook-less. There's less stigma now about using dating sites or apps, but some people prefer to be anonymous.
And sometimes he didn't even get to see what they looked like. He estimates that he would answer hundreds of ads, which might net about 10 replies, which might then lead to one in-person interaction. That's a LOT of email. But the encounters were memorable. In one encounter, a woman insisted on having porn blasting the entire time. Another made him put on a blindfold the moment he arrived. He's not happy with Craigslist's decision, even though he's not using the platform anymore.
He has a girlfriend now. But there's a lot of people out there just looking for casual sex and some people find dating apps intimidating... The internet learned that lesson the hard way in March when Craigslist announced that it would be pulling its personals section in response to Senate bill H. The following year, under similar pressure, the company removed its "adult services" sectionreplacing it with the word "censored. Like TaskRabbit, Moonlighting is a site and app that connects job searchers with clients, but rather than complete tasks, Moonlighting curates longer-term freelance jobs. Sex workers don't have to worry about being punished for posting their own ads, but they could run afoul of the law if working in pairs or helping a colleague place an ad. Stars Screen Binge Culture Media. One of the most helpful Craigslist features is its housing section, which allows renters privateescorts craigslist personals post about openings for roommates, landlords to post about available rentals, travelers to post about sublets, privateescorts craigslist personals, and .