SESTA Is Being Pushed As The Answer To A Sex Trafficking 'Epidemic' That Simply Doesn't Exist

from the reality-check dept

The rationale behind the Section 230-upending SESTA bill is that sex trafficking is such a huge problem, some collateral damage is a small price to pay. The push begins with the targeted criminal behavior itself. No one wants to appear as though they're opposed to fighting trafficking, so that scores some quick wins with a few legislators. It continues with inflated numbers suggesting trafficking has become a multi-billion dollar industry here in the US.

Two backers of an earlier human trafficking bill - Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Ann Wagner -- both cited unsupported numbers while discussing the criminal activity. Goodlatte claimed "child sex trafficking alone is a $9.8 billion industry." Wagner's money quote was about the same -- $9.5 billion -- but didn't narrow it down to just child sex trafficking.

It doesn't matter whether the number included children or not. The numbers are false. The Washington Post dug into the stats and couldn't find anything independently verifiable that added up to the $9 billion price tag asserted here. What WaPo found was the $9 billion was a worldwide estimate based on some very questionable extrapolation from a few small data sets with large sampling errors. The paper tracked the numbers all the way back to figures provided by ICE in 2003, which was a worldwide estimate that also included human smuggling.

Other reports have suggested an incredible amount of profit per exploited person:

The ILO in 2014 released another report on human trafficking with updated profit estimates. This report provided a calculation of $26 billion in profits for “forced sexual exploitation” in the 36 industrialized countries, based on the assumption of 300,000 prostitutes, earnings of about $115,000 a year, and profits of $80,000.

These are the sort of numbers being pointed to by supporters of SESTA. This is the extremely fuzzy math that leads SESTA frontman Sen. Rob Portman to declare sex trafficking an "epidemic" in America. The real numbers are never cited because they'll never convince anyone to sign off on an internet-damaging bill like SESTA. Elizabeth Nolan Brown does the actual math using actual FBI crime figures and there's nothing approaching a $10 billion/year trafficking epidemic.

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI's newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016.

Part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) project, the new data on sex and labor trafficking shows that arrests for either offense are rare and that many suspected incidents of trafficking did not ultimately yield results.

Lots of law enforcement resources get poured into human trafficking investigations but the expenditures vastly outweigh the results.

For instance, Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests last year. Nevada worked on 140 human trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges. Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it.

Last year, supporters of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act were claiming 1,000 children become victims of sex trafficking in Ohio alone every year. These numbers were based the same sort of small data set + sampling errors + baseless extrapolation used to reach the national figures.

[T]he study’s authors took that 15-per-year figure [number of minor victims IDed in Toledo] and applied it to all girls ages 12 through 17 in the state of Ohio. That population, 337,961, yields an estimate of 202 girls per year.

Then, the commission multiplied 202 by five, because a University of Toledo study claimed that each sex trafficking victim they interviewed knew an average of five more underaged minors "not known to law enforcement, but who were engaging in the sex trade."

One big problem: The Ohio study did not control for the fact that Toledo’s child sex trafficking rates were the highest in the state, which inflates their estimate even before multiplying it by five.

The commission then threw in some boys for good measure, reasoning that being gay, transgender or a runaway are "risk factors" for becoming a child sex trafficking victim. Because 3 to 5 percent of the overall US population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the committee added 63 males to the estimated number of child victims.

The attorney general’s trafficking study concluded that an annual 1,078 minors in Ohio were potential victims.

More than 1,000 children exploited every year by traffickers! And by the wiliest of traffickers, apparently. Actual arrests in Ohio for trafficking? Five in 2014. Zero in 2015 and 2016.

Even some of those nominally supportive of SESTA are finding it difficult to reason with citizens affected by government-led sex trafficking hysteria. Roseville (CA) Police had to take to Facebook to combat misinformation being spread about sex trafficking by a viral social media post. The post detailed the "suspicious" activity of a man spotted in a grocery store parking lot. To those passing around the post, "suspicious man" = "proof of rampant human trafficking." The Roseville PD responded with some nice, cold facts.

[T]he post mentions that the suspicious man was probably a human trafficker looking to kidnap children. This is highly unlikely, as kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States. Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news. According to national research, children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children.

[...]

The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade. Our vice officers have interviewed numerous prostitutes and exploited victims over the years, and asked them how they got into their situations. None have said they were originally kidnapped.

[...]

We recently conducted undercover operations in retail areas, and found no evidence that human traffickers were there recruiting strangers.

Human trafficking in the US does exist. No one's denying that -- and no one's denying that it's devastating for those victims and their families. But it's not the multi-billion epidemic it's portrayed as by politicians and SESTA supporters. The problem should be addressed, but there are plenty of laws on the books already that allow for the pursuit and prosecution of actual sex traffickers. Throwing third-party service providers into the mix does nothing more than allow the government to attack third parties (because it's easier) rather than engage in the more difficult work of targeting traffickers themselves.


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  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:45am

    How many laws could be used that aren't?

    It would be nice to know how many laws could be used to stop 'bad actors on the internet' that aren't being used. I'm positive that this 'fix' won't do anything to help those in need.

    If politicrats want to do something, why not make a 'feel-good' law that says 'companies that suspect sex trafficking ads have been posted should (key word there) notify law enforcement if they become aware of it'. This is a simple, non-binding way to 'do something' without actually harming a large swath of businesses over hysterical moral outrage.

    With SESTA, all they are doing is removing it and NOT involving police, because liability (don't need another SJW Kamala Harris looking for political gain to put you in their crosshairs), so... i'm not sure how this is supposed to help anyone involved...

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:45am

    If only they could get a report made.
    Where actual scientific method is used & we don't randomly multiply by 10 every 3rd calculation.
    If only it was important enough some governmental body could set up funding for such an entity.

    This is the sound bite finally biting them in the ass.
    They enjoyed getting the awards and accolades for being tireless defenders of imaginary trafficked children.
    They liked the headline & lime light it brought to them, and helped them distract from the cesspool they all work out of.
    But now the awards have come home to roost.
    Congress passed a shitty bill to allow people to sue another country, it wasn't going to work, it couldn't work, it was wasted time & effort.... but no one really spoke out because the bill mentioned the families of 911 and who wanted to be the headline coming out against them?

    There are a few "victims" (sorry I doubt stories at this point having seen hookers told to tell the right version of the story or else) who talk about how horrible it all was. Somehow the company with the deepest pockets is at fault.
    Not the parents who ignored what the kids were doing online.
    Not the pimp who lured them into a horrible life.
    Not the johns who used them.
    Not the hotel where they worked.
    Not the police who managed to miss a bunch of underage girls hanging out in a hotel.
    Nope, this is all the fault of BackPage.

    Humans like to slap a label on something & then call the problem fixed. If we got rid of BackPage sex trafficking would end world wide... of course this isn't true but neither are a majority of the stats used.

    There are more mentally ill people on the streets than sex trafficked victims.
    There are more homeless vets than sex trafficked victims.
    There are more hungry children than sex trafficked victims.
    There are more children lost inside the foster system than sex trafficked victims.
    There are more abused children than sex trafficked victims.

    Perhaps we should demand they start working on ACTUAL problems, rather than grandstanding at the expense of a single company. In their pursuit to stick it to that one company they are willing to screw the entire net.

    I think we should be calling the sponsors and demanding they pass a similar law for parents who's children were killed by guns. There is a law that protects them from being sued, but I guess you need the NRA & lots of cash to stay out of the bullseye of bullshit legislation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      >but no one really spoke out because the bill mentioned the families of 911 and who wanted to be the headline coming out against them?

      More like everyone but Congress thought it was stupid, and the President even vetoed it, but nevertheless, they persisted.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        A bunch of them didn't read it and IIRC someone actually admitted it would pass because no one in Congress DARED to vote against something with the 9/11 Families in the title.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:01am

    Never!

    Let a terrible situation go to waste!
    If you don't have a terrible situation, make one or Fantasize one!

    The History of government my friends!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:05am

    Action Figures that you can't play with

    It seems amazing that with the plethora of laws that already exist that there is some actual scarcity of law that necessitates another law for things already illegal.

    Legislators that feel impelled to 'do something anything, even if it's wrong' in order to seem like they are 'taking action' over some issue are like toys. Toys that children cannot play with as they are already the playthings of some adult special interest, and in this case likely a special interest with some overwhelming 'moral' agenda.

    The appearance is that they just don't like seeing 'sex' in the publishing world no matter what form it appears. This bit is likely just a first step in an agenda to adjust moral compasses, first nationwide, then worldwide, with sufficient hand waving to hide the end goal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:24am

    Just as long as it does something about these sex traffic jams we've been having...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TDR, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:27am

    There is an additional possibility, in that SESTA's sponsors, among others of their ilk, may be among actual trafficking's biggest customers and to keep that from being exposed, they deliberately try to push a bad law that they know will only make the problem worse and harder to track down. People tend to be so focused on the traffickers themselves that they fail to look to see who their clients are and demand action against them as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:43am

    Those numbers were obviously in error...

    ... and I expect a correction to come through any moment.

    Obviously, they meant that there were 9+ billion people being trafficked each year.

    That's a much more realistic number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:56am

    Lets assume the 9 billion dollar numbers are accurate.

    The entire US GDP is 18.57 TRILLION dollars.

    So a mere 9 billion is a tiny tiny drop in the bucket of a very fringe industry.

    Especially when you consider how big a thing slavery used to be in the US, which is basically legalized sex trafficking and more (and yes, some people used their slaves primarily as sex slaves).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 10:57am

    More exaggerations.

    I was listening to a local radio show the other morning that was talking about supposed child sex trafficking in my local area. Included in the examples of "child sex trafficking" was when teenagers have sex with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Seriously.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:04am

    i wonder what the real reason for this is and who is really behind it, pushing it forward as hard as possible, without any thought in the least for the consequences? it almost sounds like the sort of bullshit exercise Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industries get involved with! time will tell but i'll bet we will all be totally shocked at the truth when it comes out!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:18am

    So it's an epidemic like drugs have been for decades and you are willing to use flawed (and failed in the future) strategies to combat it just like the old war on drugs dragging socially accepted practices under it and generally just benefiting jail management business. Got it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 11:47am

    But really though, how could you get these numbers? I honestly doubt they're checking tax returns on kid-diddling rings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 12:09pm

    PLEASE!!!

    Someone make a machine to detect Lies, fabrications, and People who DONT know anything about a subject....

    Please...

    THEN start shooting people that DONT know What they are talking about..

    I want a site that COUNTS lies and fabrications of our RESPONSIBLE gov. entities...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 12:14pm

    The establishment won't rest until they fully control the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 1:19pm

    A few months ago there was a strange man hanging around the train station near here, doing something on a phone but not buying a ticket or catching a train.

    ...Then one day I actually paid attention to the posted signs and checked online, and realized that the train station and parking lot are private property and I was technically trespassing. I immediately changed my activities; it turns out the Ingress portal I was hacking (also a Pokemon gym) was accessible from the public sidewalk, so I started parking in a nearby public lot instead and walking. A bit less convenient, but perfectly legal.

    Suspicious activity in this case was a guy who was just playing a game and not paying close enough attention to the signs. I could have been cited for trespassing, and correctly so, but there wasn't actually anything nefarious going on. "Suspicious" isn't automatically "guilty".

    For that matter, I could have bought a ticket and taken a train somewhere, then returned, and I would have satisfied all the requirements to turn me from a trespasser to a customer. And I would have been just as much danger to the public as when I had just been hanging out. Perhaps more, because I would have suddenly no longer been suspicious, but just another passenger.

    If I really WERE up to something, I would take care to look like just another guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2017 @ 7:15pm

    I agree... Really don't play games, just get rid of the 230 entirely:

    As Arthur Chu has proposed

    TECH CRUNCH:
    https://techcrunch.com/2015/09/29/mr-obama-tear-down-this-liability-shield/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:51pm

      Re:

      Truly, a highly compelling argument carefully rebutting the points raised in the article, I can only imagine how much thought and time went into putting forth such a detailed comment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 27 Sep 2017 @ 9:55pm

    This is why Techdirt can be hard to take at times.

    "Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI's newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016.
    Part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) project, the new data on sex and labor trafficking shows that arrests for either offense are rare and that many suspected incidents of trafficking did not ultimately yield results."

    Let's go through all this again, shall we?

    The courts have made it entirely legal to do "girl to your door" services (such as you see in Vegas). You pay a flat fee, and they deliver a girl, period. The girl then does whatever she wants (she's a hooker, so she negotiated sex for money, aka prostitution), but the guys who got here there are free of liability because they didn't directly accept money for prostitution.

    Actually nailing guys like that for human trafficking, pimping, proxenetism - whatever you like, is very complicated - close to near impossible.

    Even in less organized situations, it's generally the girl who eats it legally, and since she is generally "owned" by someone and not in a position to turn against them, it's unlikely you will ever get anything that links the pimp to the actual sex crime.

    Basic facts: 90% of prostitutes have a pimp.

    https://nobullying.com/prostitution-statistics/

    Oh, and there is no issue?

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-09-24/police-compton-prostitu tion-ring-shut-down-36-arrests-made

    That is this week...

    2015:

    http://time.com/4022124/prostitution-nationwide-sting/

    With nearly 100,000 vice prosecutions each year, prostitution isn't small time. That's a pretty serious issue no matter how you slice it, and no matter how hard you try to sweep it under the rug in the name of a free internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 12:12am

      Re:

      Kindly explain, using short words, how making somebody, who does not vet what appears on their site, criminally liable for what others use their site for will stop human trafficking?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 1:29am

        Re: Re:

        stop? No such thing. Prostitution is the oldest profession, it won't ever "stop".

        The question is making it less available. It's moving it from "7-eleven on every corner" to "only available in a dark alley downtown". Lowering availability in theory lowers demand, make the product less desirable and more dangerous to try to get, and not available anywhere any time. Cut down the income, cut down the profits, and cut down the desire for pimps to try to make easy money.

        For the rest:

        "who does not vet what appears on their site"

        willful ignorance isn't a great legal defense. Intentionally ignoring what others post on your site (save for section 230) would not be a very good legal defense.

        So, to sum up: make the ads less available. Make the product less available, take it out of mainstream public acceptability, and drive down the income for the girls and their pimps. Make it less desirable to be in the business, and perhaps they will rope in fewer girls.

        It's not simple, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all about a serious problem.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 2:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So damaging people ability to communicate, and offer goods for sale etc, all of which create more posting on the Internet than is possible for the various sites to pre-vet, is worth while to have almost no impact on prostitution.

          Hint if somebody want a prostitute they will find one, one way or another, especially if their fancy is at the more unsavory end of the spectrum. Further the father underground you drive that trade, the more dangerous it gets for those in the trade.

          It's not simple, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all about a serious problem.

          Except, when as is the most likely outcome of these proposals, the law creates more problems than it solves, by destroying businesses who make a simple mistake.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 3:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is no damage, that is partially what is misleading here.

            CL and backpage already filter out all adult ads on their regular listings. They do it already. So nothing changes.

            So what's the damage?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 4:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              All the little web sites that do not have the people or the time to vet user comments.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 4:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                All the little web sites that do not have the people or the time to vet ALL user comments 24-7. FTFY.

                It means they're liable even if ONE bad actor gets by their manual filtering or cheap algorithms. They permitted it to be posted, so, under the way this law is worded, they "knowingly" allowed it.

                From what I understand, it means that you either severely filter user content (in some way), or potentially not at all.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Ninja (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 4:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Right, what's the damage in blaming Facebook for people using it to engage in criminal activity? Shut it down already, the other hundreds and hundreds of millions that use it and see value in it be damned! Somebody posted videos against the law in Youtube? Shut the fucking thing down, all the people making money honestly and otherwise using it for nice purposes (like researching and studying as I often do) be damned! A whole freaking lot of adults like porn but because I am a complete idiot just let's shut down porn sites that rely on user generated content if some users post cp or the likes because fuck anybody that doesn't agree with me! Fuck the companies if they can't set up the magic filter I'm demand! Fuck them all, I am the king, I am the only important person in the world! - MyNameHere

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2017 @ 11:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              CL and backpage already filter out all adult ads on their regular listings.

              Whenever some submits an add as being in that category, but should they be held criminally liable is someone slips an illegal add into a different category?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 4:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The question is making it less available."

          Just like 'making drugs less available' via the stupid war on drugs worked wonders, right? Read about Rio de Janeiro and drug traffic there to see where it will ultimately lead. And seriously, fuck you. Many people make use of such services in a very non harming way. And that "all prostitutes have a pimp" thing happens BECAUSE we criminalize the activity. If we treat the job as any other and provide the same protections we do to other workers they can go and offer their work autonomously. They already do a lot thanks to the internet as I can attest personally as I have had quite fun times with awesome girls. No pimps involved.

          "Lowering availability in theory lowers demand, make the product less desirable and more dangerous to try to get, and not available anywhere any time. Cut down the income, cut down the profits, and cut down the desire for pimps to try to make easy money."

          Just... LOL. What world are you living in? Again, drugs. It only increases the profits exactly because you can charge a premium for the 'dangers' involved.

          "willful ignorance isn't a great legal defense. Intentionally ignoring what others post on your site (save for section 230) would not be a very good legal defense."

          You keep spewing that crap and you keep being wrong. CDA230 does not apply if the company is engaged in criminal activity. And general knowledge of criminal activity in your infra-structure is NOT enough to make you a criminal as many court decisions have ruled already. At least I don't see highways operators being sued for traffic going on their roads or gun makers being sold because their guns were used for murder. But of course you will keep spewing it even though you are capable of more than crap.

          "Make it less desirable to be in the business, and perhaps they will rope in fewer girls."

          Perhaps. Except reality says otherwise. Make it more available, make it properly regulated and give girls protection. Demand will be there and it won't be reduced and where there's high demand there is business even if you don't like it.

          "It's not simple, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all about a serious problem."

          Better do nothing than make it worse.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 5:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Just like 'making drugs less available' via the stupid war on drugs worked wonders, right? "

            Not an equivalent argument. Drugs are very illegal, and have never had anyone tolerate them advertising in public.

            If anything, the legalization of weed should tell you what happens when drugs get even marginally legalized - people ilne up for it. Imagine if you could legally put ads for smack and coke on Backpage...

            "general knowledge of criminal activity in your infra-structure is NOT enough to make you a criminal as many court decisions have ruled already."

            There is a point where you go from "general knowledge" and it moves on participant. With section 230, we never get to find out, the site always has an "out".

            " Except reality says otherwise. Make it more available, make it properly regulated and give girls protection. "

            Okay, reality check for you: Prostitution is unlikely to ever be fully legal in the US because it's not going to play with the conservatives or the extreme libs either. So that fantasy won't play out.

            I can also tell you that in Hong Kong, where single girl / single room prostitution is entirely legal, the business is dominated by... illegal immigrants from China working for triad pimps. They abuse the single girl laws to promote the girls one at a time and skirt the law, while still taking most of their money and then sending the back to China when they are worn out. Legalization didn't do anything except give the illegal operators ANOTHER way to dodge the laws.

            Amsterdam? Red Light district, doors, and well maintained government mandated testing and licensing... and tons and tons of street prostitution, pimps, and organized crime.


            http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/why-amsterdams-prostitution-laws-are-still-failing-protect-empower-women-14 67733

            "In theory, women would be less likely to suffer abuse at the hands of pimps, less likely to be involved in human trafficking, and more likely to earn a decent wage.

            And yet, the system hasn't worked – it's made things worse.

            A prostitute in Amsterdam, a notoriously expensive city, will pay up to one hundred euro a night for the rent of a window.

            She also has to pay a pimp, and pay taxes if she registers – though only 5% of prostitutes have actually registered for tax, perhaps for fear of the social stigma that comes with publicly announcing yourself as a prostitute."

            It fails. Legalization is a dead end, it goes nowhere.

            Want another example? Nevada. Legalized prostitution everywhere except Clark County, and yet Nevada has the highest level of prostitution arrests, the most "girls to your room" bull crap, and not surprisingly, lots of Backpage style activity. Hmmm. Legalization has worked out, right?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Ninja (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 5:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Drugs are very illegal, and have never had anyone tolerate them advertising in public."

              You ignored the point. I clearly said AVAILABLE. But since you went into the details I never talked about you don't see ads because you can't "disguise" it into something that looks legal. Prostitution can be 'disguised'. You can't really say if an "escort" service is actually prostitution.

              "If anything, the legalization of weed should tell you what happens when drugs get even marginally legalized - people ilne up for it. Imagine if you could legally put ads for smack and coke on Backpage..."

              Read about the experience with legalization in Europe. Heroin is legal in some places there. The consumption spiked at first and generally settled at lower levels than when they were illegal. And of course there's the US where govt is discovering there's tons of tax money to make from marijuana (incidentally just like tobacco and alcohol, two drugs that are much worse than marijuana). The fact that lines would form to buy means there's plenty of demand, simple as that. Sure coke is a worse problem but then again you treat it as a public health issue, screw the drug cartels by selling it legally and get a bonus of assisting people that develop an addiction.

              "Okay, reality check for you: Prostitution is unlikely to ever be fully legal in the US because it's not going to play with the conservatives or the extreme libs either. So that fantasy won't play out."

              Like marijuana?

              "Legalization didn't do anything except give the illegal operators ANOTHER way to dodge the laws."

              That's their experience. And they put some idiotic limitations. Let the girls offer their services directly to the customer in ebay and new entrants will have exactly zero incentive to go with pimps. Less developed places have other underlying problems that make the issue more complex but we are talking about the US and Hong Kong is not a good comparison point.

              "Amsterdam? Red Light district, doors, and well maintained government mandated testing and licensing... and tons and tons of street prostitution, pimps, and organized crime. "

              That's one source. I've done some research right now and while this may be true in fact the legalization brought much more benefits than negatives. Contrary to you I am more actively engaged in these issues and I follow/sponsor activism aiming to legalize the job and all the evidence seems to contradict you. I respect sex workers.

              Legalization does not fail. What failed (if it did, most of my research shows it's actually bad regulation that makes things worse).

              "Want another example? Nevada. Legalized prostitution everywhere except Clark County, and yet Nevada has the highest level of prostitution arrests, the most "girls to your room" bull crap, and not surprisingly, lots of Backpage style activity. Hmmm. Legalization has worked out, right?"

              What's the exact context of the arrests? Because we know cops are salivating over marijuana even though many states are legalizing it. They are specifically targeting people from states where it's legal and federal govt couldn't care less about respecting the law. So again, what's the context? What's the impact of law enforcement agents bias against them? It's much more complex and nuanced than you think. Legalization alone isn't the panacea. Legalizing with severe constraints is the same of keeping it illegal. And society still has a ton of prejudice that will get in the way either making legalization difficult or poisoning it with idiotic restrictions.

              I don't expect you to understand anything but at the very least I'll leave it here as food for thought.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Ninja (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 6:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Legalization does not fail. What failed (if it did, most of my research shows it's actually bad regulation that makes things worse)."

                Hmm I screwed the sentence here, lemme fix.

                Legalization does not fail. What did fail (when it did) was badly regulated legalization. As I said, legalizing it but putting severe restrictions only aggravate the problem. Just as an example, the govt taxes tobacco here more heavily to discourage consumption. The activists are now asking the govt to scale back the taxation a bit because it's fueling a healthy black market. Bad regulation at its best.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                MyNameHere (profile), 28 Sep 2017 @ 1:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "You ignored the point. I clearly said AVAILABLE. But since you went into the details I never talked about you don't see ads because you can't "disguise" it into something that looks legal. Prostitution can be 'disguised'. You can't really say if an "escort" service is actually prostitution."

                It can - but the level of disguise to get it into mainstream advertising and make it stick (ie, not get shut down the next time) would render the product undetectable by the intended customers. Remember, this isn't a secret message between two knowing people, it's someone trying to sell a product to all potential buyers. If the buyers know the code, it won't be long before the sites do too, and boom, shut down. It's a pointless exercise.

                "I've done some research right now and while this may be true in fact the legalization brought much more benefits than negatives."

                Actually, in Amsterdam it's become worse. Limited licensing and limited space means the girls pay huge fees to be in business, huge fees to rent space they could never afford to buy, and become beholden to a pimp and a landlord. Legalization in a manner that made it safer for the public didn't work out. It's a huge bone of contention in Amsterdam right now and an on going problem, especially as spaces in the red light district get shut down and converted to other uses.

                "Legalizing with severe constraints is the same of keeping it illegal."

                In anything, legalization usually comes with regulation. Right now the pot laws in places like California are leading to widespread abuse by "doctors" writing up prescriptions for weed for ailments that people just don't have - only so they can buy weed. Amsterdam did outright legalization, and then reigned it back in by limiting it to licensed coffee shops. It means that the drug problem there actually got worse, as street level drugs are always harder drugs and it actually breeds more addicts. Oops!

                Prostituion legalized and regulated is often too much of a burden, there will always been a black market. How you deal with the black market, how you keep that black market from gaining traction and becoming more mainstream is key in fighting against it, keeping it dark and keeping almost everyone with money away from it.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Ninja (profile), 29 Sep 2017 @ 7:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You keep proving my point. The problems were not caused by legalization but rather because of the restrictions imposed. I do see value in regulating heavier drugs even if they are legal (like that heroin example I mentioned) but overtaxing it, making it hard to acquire or placing too burdensome restrictions are akin to keeping it illegal.

                  As I said, you just proved my point and you are still wrong.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    MyNameHere (profile), 30 Sep 2017 @ 1:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Legalization of anything almost always comes with regulation, with regulation comes expense, and that creates a margin where illegal activity still happens.

                    Legalized prostitution (ie, no rules at all, do what you like) would almost certainly lead to a public health crisis. It would also likely have huge social implications in people running whore houses in residential neighborhoods, etc.

                    So you end up with... the need for regulation.

                    Regulation costs money, and money is raised by taxation or user fees. There really is no other choice.

                    Love it or hate it, there isn't any "just make it legal". Every change has implications, and not everyone can handle them.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2017 @ 3:09am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      It would also likely have huge social implications in people running whore houses in residential neighborhoods, etc.

                      Indeed it would, just like Dora Noyce managed to keep a brothel in a residential area of Edinburgh for many years. Despite her running an illegal business, mo great effort was made to get it evicted from the street.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2017 @ 4:38pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Every change has implications, and not everyone can handle them."

                      Unless it's got to do with copyright, of course. Then everyone has to pay for the RIAA's tools, or the performance rights organization's boss so he can visit brothels to check if their permit to play background music is in order, and get a few orgies in while he's at it...

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2017 @ 4:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "willful ignorance isn't a great legal defense"

          Sure it is. You do it every single time some rightsholder takes down a video on YouTube that clearly qualifies for fair use, claiming that it's too hard for them to decide, and call it "good faith". But apparently algorithms are then capable of identifying illegitimate uploads and have to take them down within the hour or Google is the devil incarnate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 28 Sep 2017 @ 3:36am

    Want to kill SESTA? Here is how...

    Tie human sex trafficking legislation to gun control.

    How many young girls are forced into sex trafficking at gun point? Banning hand guns would reduce the number of guns available to sex traffickers.

    Ban guns = Save young girls from sex trafficking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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