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2014

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SAVE Our Liberty...

US civil liberties groups oppose a proposed law against adult adverts that will result in massive censorship of general internet advertising and also user generated content


Link Here18th November 2014

A coalition of civil liberties, publishing, and online commerce groups are asking Congress to oppose a piece of anti-speech, anti-sex work legislation known as as the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act.

The bill is supposedly aimed at thwarting human trafficking but in reality would create harsh new criminal liabilities for websites and publishers, allow federal agents to censor online ads, make it harder for adult sex workers of all sorts to safely connect with customers, drive traffickers further underground, and potentially expose anyone advertising online to new privacy infringements.

In a November 12 letter to the U.S. Senate, nine organizations--including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Internet Commerce Coalition , the Electronic Frontier Foundation , the Association of Alternative News Media, and the National Coalition Against Censorship--wrote to convey strong opposition to the SAVE Act.

The SAVE Act would do several things:

  1. create extensive record-keeping requirements for any website, online services, and print publication that hosts adult advertisements,
  2. require anyone posting an adult ad to submit photo identification,
  3. enable the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban certain euphemisms or code words from online advertising entirely, and
  4. make websites that host user-generated ads criminally liable should any of those ads wind up promoting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a minor. Under the law, the operator of a website such as Craigslist that hosts thousands of new user-uploaded ads daily could could face up to 10 years prison if any one of these is eventually linked to child sex trafficking.

The act would mean that websites and services hosting user-generated content could be held criminally liable even if they do not have actual knowledge that an ad for illegal activity appears on their sites.

Consequently, virtually any user-generated content host--like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Amazon or various online dating sites--will have every incentive to prohibit content that falls under the bill's broad definition of adult advertisements, which includes communications that are wholly or only partially devoted to proposing lawful commercial exchange for lawful services--in other words, speech that is unquestionably protected by the First Amendment. At best, user-generated content sites will default to taking down content that is flagged as an adult advertisement as soon as a complaint is lodged, regardless of whether the content appears to be related to child trafficking or state child exploitation crimes, or even fits the bill's definition of adult advertisement at all.

In addition, any website, online service, or print publication that hosts any content falling under the bill's definition as an adult advertisement would be required to obtain photo identification from anyone posting the content.

Rather than risk inadvertantly hosting an illegal ad without having obtained the proper identification, many sites would simply start requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to post all ads.

And perhaps most egregiously of all, the SAVE Act would empower the DOJ to ban the use of certain words in all online advertising. If the agency determined that something was a potential euphemism or code word for trafficking, web operators, publishers, and digital ad networks would be forced to censor ads containing these words or phrases.

 

 

Offsite Article: Backpage in spotlight after murder link as sex website face court test...


Link Here 22nd October 2014
Should a public forum about hook ups for sex be banned because a few bad people use it?

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Inside the life of an escort...


Link Here19th October 2014
Photo series follows a young escort as she works, rests and even gets arrested

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Labor Intensive: In Defense of Sex Work...


Link Here28th August 2014
Sex work is not a liability. It is a form of labor and art; its participants don't deserve violence or stigma. By A Dozen Pissed Off Sex Workers

See article from redwedgemagazine.com

 

 

A Safer New York...

Police can no longer claim that the possession of multiple condoms is evidence of prostitution


Link Here27th August 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York city has revised laws such that police can no longer use condom possession as proof of prostitution.

It has taken New York State almost 20 years in the Legislature, and the last year in the Assembly to finally change New York police officers' practices of detaining women carrying multiple condoms (4+, usually) on charges of prostitution.

For years it was standard for law enforcement to use possession of multiple condoms (which is totally legal in and of itself) as evidence to justify arresting and questioning women they believe to be involved in prostitution or sex trafficking. In many cases, police officers confiscate and dispose of safer sex supplies carried by sex workers and other women found to be carrying multiple condoms.

The Department of Health in New York conducted a survey of 60 sex workers and found out that more than half have had condoms confiscated from police officers and around one third admitted that they avoided carrying condoms due to fears of being targeted by police.

Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island have stopped using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases as of May 14, 2014. As part of a campaign to prevent HIV/AIDS and other STIs, NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new policy of not confiscating condoms in cases involving prostitution, prostitution in a school zone and loitering for the purpose of prostitution. A policy that actually inhibits people from safe sex is a mistake and is dangerous, said Mayor de Blasio.

 

 

US Bullies...

US bill attempts to bully countries into criminalising the purchase of sex


Link Here20th August 2014

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) and the  Freedom Network (USA) have condemned a new bill, introduced into the US House of Representatives by Congressman Hultgren, which seeks to put pressure on countries that "do not prohibit the purchase of commercial sex acts".

If passed, bill H.R.4703 will amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to demand that the State Department take a country's prostitution laws into consideration when determining its rankings in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Placement in the lowest tier of the Trafficking in Persons Report can trigger sanctions including the reduction or loss of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance.

GAATW and the Freedom Network believe that this move is not about preventing human trafficking or protecting its victims. Under the guise of addressing trafficking in persons, the amendment instead seeks to include efforts to eradicate prostitution. Creating such a strong link between prostitution and trafficking in persons is not uncommon but it is mistaken. GAATW has documented the harm done to sex workers, migrants and to people who have been trafficked by anti-trafficking laws, policies, programmes and initiatives that conflate the two.

There is no evidence that criminalising or otherwise penalising sex workers' clients has reduced either trafficking in persons or sex work. International law on trafficking in persons makes a distinction between prostitution and trafficking. The USA's international anti-trafficking work too makes this distinction plain, as several countries in the top tier of the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report -- i.e. those countries who meet the minimum standards for addressing trafficking -- indeed do not criminalise sex work. If anything, we can look to the 14 years of the Trafficking in Persons Report as the evidentiary link that sex work and trafficking are not connected.

The text of bill H.R.4703 is available here . The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

 

Offsite Article: Harlotry...


Link Here20th March 2014
How Sex Work Led Me To Abandon Feminism. By Cathryn Berarovich

See article from thegloss.com

 

 

Extract: The Super Bowl and Sex Trafficking...

Hundreds of innocent people arrested to prevent mythical sex trafficking at sport events


Link Here1st February 2014
Full story: Sport of Trafficking Hype...40,000 trafficked sex workers travelling to sports events

Tens of thousands of people have descended upon the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area this week for tomorrow's Super Bowl, accompanied by the usual media frenzy. A now familiar feature of this coverage, wherever the Super Bowl is held, is an abundance of stories, from Reuters to CNN, reporting that the event will cause a surge in sex trafficking to capitalize on the influx of fans and tourists.

The problem is that there is no substantiation of these claims. The rhetoric turns out to be just that.

No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a network of nongovernmental organizations, published a report in 2011 examining the record on sex trafficking related to World Cup soccer games, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. It found that, despite massive media attention, law enforcement measures and efforts by prostitution abolitionist groups, there is no empirical evidence that trafficking for prostitution increases around large sporting events.

The Super Bowl sex-trafficking hype isn't just unfounded, though --- it is actively harmful because it creates bad policy. In the days leading up to Sunday's game, local law enforcement dedicated tremendous resources to targeting everyone engaged in prostitution.

This week's Super Bowl-related operation has required officers to be pulled from their regular details to serve on prostitution arrest squads. The New York Police Department said it had made 298 prostitution-related arrests through Jan. 26. In Manhattan --- a borough that has approximately 300 arrests for prostitution a year --- there have been more than 100 arrests in the past several days. When Midtown Community Court opened on Wednesday morning, 25 women arrested on Tuesday night were sitting in holding cells waiting to be arraigned after a sting operation at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Midtown.

Remove the guise of preventing human trafficking, and we are left with a cautionary tale of how efforts to clean up the town for a media event rely on criminalizing people, with long-lasting implications for those who are then trapped in the criminal justice system. If we continue to perpetuate fallacies like the Super Bowl sex-trafficking phenomenon, we will continue to perpetuate the harm caused by prostitution arrests in the name of helping victims.

...Read the full article



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