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Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
03-21-2018, 10:53 PM (This post was last modified: 03-22-2018 10:28 PM by davephx.)
Post: #1
Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City Vibe immediately shut down

3/21/2018 -The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in a 97-2 vote. Only Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted against the bill, which is also known as the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It already passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump who has expressed support for the bill.

Once signed by the President websites that post prostitution ads will be committing a Federal Crime and also become open to civil lawsuits by "victims."

The bill makes no distinction between consenting adults and "sex trafficking," other than up to 10 years in prison for prostitution and 25 years for sex trafficking or if a website promotes 5 or more prostitutes.

The bill says that website operators who "promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person" will no longer have the legal protections of Section 230. Violators could face fines or prison sentences of up to 25 years. The bill was spurred largely by Backpage.com, even though the site already shut down its adult advertisement section because of government pressure.

Under FOSTA, any attempts by a website or app to filter out bad content could lead to more legal liability. The only way for companies to stay safe will be to entirely give up on content moderation and trying to stop illegal ads from getting through.

Under FOSTA sex workers could lose their ability to find and screen clients electronically, forcing them back onto the streets or into other situations where they’ll be more vulnerable to violence and exploitation. They could also lose the ability to warn each other about dangerous customers on sex-work message boards.

As Alana Massey noted recently at Allure, “these bills target websites that are widely and inaccurately believed to be hubs of trafficking activity when it is precisely those websites that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently, at the same time as they make it easier for authorities to find and investigate possible trafficking cases.”

In a lengthy Senate floor speech on Monday, bill sponsor Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) cited an increase in the number of “sex trafficking cases” reported to a national hotline run by Polaris Project—an entity that counts any call, text, or email as a “case” of sex trafficking (even though the vast majority are simply requests for information or unsubstantiated “tips”) and that has spent the past decade lobbying for state laws requiring all sorts of businesses to post the number.

"The bill really moves the ball forward on an area with strong Republican and Democratic consensus at a time of horrible partisan rancor," Mark P. Lagon, the former US ambassador-at-large to combat and monitor trafficking in persons, told CNN.

As website owners get charged, it may get challenged on Freedom of Speech constitutional grounds, but that will be a long fight with web site owners potentially in prison for years while cases get challenged.

The tech site gizmodo says, "The hapless members of the US Congress are good at piecemealing together legislation that makes it look like they’ve done something but just confuses the issue."

Dave notes according to congress.gov, the Senate seems to have incorporated the House bill H.R. 1865 which had minor differences from the original Senate bill, so no conference is needed - it goes directly to the President to sign.

Looking at the wording of H.R. 1865 instead of just news reports, Sec 3 (a) provides that whoever using a means of interstate or foreign commerce owns, manages or operates an interactive computer service with intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both.

Sec 3(b) provides for an aggravated violation if promotes prostitution of 5 or more persons or contributes to sex trafficking faces up to 25 years in prison plus civil recovery plus mandatory restitution.

Fortunately for where consenting adult prostitution is legal, the law provides: "(e) Affirmative Defense.--It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (a), or subsection (b)(1) where the defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the promotion or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction where the promotion or facilitation was targeted.''

The law text is at
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-cong...format=txt

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03-22-2018, 03:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Alex Andrews says: Please share (Copy and paste if you have to).
·
My fellow activists and sex workers-in the wake of the passage of FOSTA, in the coming days we will see all sorts of unconstitutional blocking of sex workers from the internet spaces where we congregate and discuss our issues. Not just the places were sex workers advertise, but where we keep up with the activities of our organizations and each other.

Don't be surprised if Facebook/ Twitter etc. delete accounts of people who claim to be sex workers- legal or otherwise, as well as the private Facebook pages where we post information.

Perhaps even the search engine giant Google will use an algorithm to block websites which promote decriminalization of consenting adult commercial sex. Whether the websites of sex workers or our allies, people looking for positive, truthful information about sex work may be blocked from finding those sites, articles and important information that could make a difference.

FOSTA is putting the fear of federal felony charges in those who provide spaces for advertising. This fear will spread to all other websites and apps where the decriminalization of consenting adult commercial sex is promoted. No website or app will want to be known as being sympathetic to 'sex trafficking' and face federal criminal charges.

In the long run, perhaps the bill- which will undoubtedly become law- will be overturned by a higher court and sex workers will be able to return to the internet. But until that happens, many lives will be destroyed, many rights violated, abolitionists will gloat. This is the outcome they have wanted since the inception of the internet.

Please stay safe. Keep fighting. Our rights are important. Our lives matter.

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03-22-2018, 06:54 PM (This post was last modified: 03-22-2018 10:40 PM by davephx.)
Post: #3
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
TER shut down all U.S. ad boards today.

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03-22-2018, 07:06 PM
Post: #4
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
More info to come

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03-22-2018, 07:08 PM
Post: #5
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Reviews could be considered "promoting" and expose owners, moderators etc to long prison terms.

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03-22-2018, 08:41 PM
Post: #6
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Craigslist Personals just shut down with this message:
US Congress just passed HR 1865, "FOSTA", seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

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03-22-2018, 10:47 PM
Post: #7
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
The fact that servers are in foreign countries seems to be irrelevant due to various criminal treaties and agreements with Interpol etc. Not to mention any moderators in the U.S. could be charged. TER last I heard has its servers in Amsterdam and they shut down their U.S. ad boards.

Now that the 9th Circuit challenge to prostitution law seems dead after the loss, the outlook for decriminalization is sadly virtually dead so the massively funded anti folks seem to have run the war against private consenting adults sexwork. The latest law might be challenged on a free speech basis but this will take years to resolve and success is very uncertain.

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03-22-2018, 11:01 PM
Post: #8
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Some comments from my Canadian Friends on TERB. cc for Toronto after posting about the new U.S. law:
-----
Thanks Dave. The erosion of civil rights in Americastan marches on. I'm seriously considering opening up my acreage to be used as a refugee camp for displaced heaux, environmental scientists, and ex White House staffers...
-------
Dave, isn't it time for you to immigrate to our cooler nation?
---------
Canadian websites won't be affected. Twitter disappearing is the major danger I can see up here. But the girls will have a web presence on TERB and elsewhere while they search for a replacement site for their social media.

The Twitter girls are already complaining that they're being shadowbanned by Twitter btw.
---------
The US is a morally conservative society and appears to be regressing more and more into the past and a conservative notion of "community values". You would likely get some real debate on this bill in the 1960's or 1970's. In 2018, forget it! It's "sinful". So ban it! And then come up with a rationalization to justify what you just did.
---------
Thanks Dave for a very informative thread, feels fabulous to be Canadian. Lets hope Canada doesn't want to imitate the wisdom of the USA or we're all screwed!
Actually in reality we'd not be screwed anymore!
3 cheers for Canada, cross your fingers.
---------
When it comes(!) to fucking, intercourse, orgasm and stuff like that, the American mindset, the belief system of the establishment and the church, is still very Puritanical and repressive: fucking for pleasure is sinful, immoral, evil or whatever...

I would think most people here know that fucking for pleasure has its own merits, has its own benefits... and that when issues do arise, they are mostly about ethics, morality, integrity...

Most other cultures around the world have dealt with this conflict between theory and fact. Both Tantra and Kabbalah, for example, teach the virtues and benefits of uninhibited sexual expression.

But in the U S of A, it has not been resolved! It's no different than the war on drugs.

As Albert Einstein said, "Two things are infinite. The Universe and human stupidity. And I am not sure about the Universe."
---------
Misguided moralists (conservatives - "paying for sex is wrong") and wannabe progressives (democrats - "paying for sex is exploitation of women") both voted for the bill.
---------
The mindset that prostitution is equivalent to trafficking irregardless of adults consenting to participate is not just in the USA. We had our new prostitution laws (a backward moral based move) changed in Canada under the same pretense. Prior to that, the bevy of EU strippers was shut off by our own conservatives under the guise of curbing trafficking.

As for the girls in the US, the demand won't drop so protection offered by agencies will move back to the street pimps and organized crime.
---------
Land of the Free, lol.
Yes, Trump would never get involved with a shady lady ...... lol on him.
--------
anti-sex sentiment among christians in the U.S.A originated from gnostic heresies (long discussion followed)
--------
When I read such nonsense, I genuinely feel for our neighbors to the south as they seem to be implementing draconian measures across the board. This pending legislation is yet another example of a nation trying to hold on to their glory days.

I do take solace that my parents elected to land in Haliifax/Pier 21 and not Ellis Island. And specific to this board, I am ecstatic that they called the GTA home as Toronto has a wonderfully diverse escort community for me.

Fight the good fight Dave.
---------
Dave jumps back in saying:
Good discussion.
I disagree that the U.S. is becoming more conservative, actually, the opposite is true, especially for the younger generations. Church membership at least in traditional churches are declining as more see a personal relationship with God not an organized religion. More and more of the public would favor decrim of in private consenting adults, HOWEVER....

The abolitionists have HUGE funding for their tax-exempt organizations funding the media propaganda that all sexwork is sex trafficking by pimps and those that exploit women and the idea that no one would be a "prostitute" unless forced into it since it is such an abhorrence. I have the 990 tax forms of many of these anti-sex organizations and the zillions provided by grants to police all over the U.S. to fund stings etc to "save the women prostitutes." Now its focused on "reduce demand" by national wide FBI let stings with fake ads to arrest customers.

The politicians don't dare go against laws that hype all about the abuses of sex trafficking but include all prostitution whether consenting adults or not.

In Canada when we had all those good posts of C36 in its own thread it seemed clear to me that since most cities (except London) are not enforcing C36 against consenting adults and this frees up police resources with lots of arrests of real pimping and forced victims vs. the "pretend victims" police try to "save" by arresting them and their clients.

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03-23-2018, 12:12 AM
Post: #9
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Reddit has banned several long-running sex worker forums from the platform. So far, four subreddits related to sex have been banned: Escorts, Male Escorts, Hookers, and SugarDaddy. None were what could accurately be described as advertising forums, though (to varying degrees) they may have helped connect some people who wound up in "mutually beneficial relationships."

If you visit the Reddit "Hooker" community now, you'll see a notice that "this subreddit was banned due to a violation of our content policy."

Craigslist has removed it's personals section.

Starting next week, VerifyHim will no longer be offering the Community section of the site.

YouTube is removing SW videos.

Google has stopped certain adult content from being shared.

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03-23-2018, 04:29 PM
Post: #10
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Congress Passes CLOUD Act Hidden in Budget Spending Bill

This allows internal and foreign law enforcement access to user data stored online without a search warrant or probable cause.

The legislation is the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), a bill proposed in mid-February, this year (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943).

US officials never discussed the bill, but merely appended it to the Omnibus budget spending bill (page 2201) they introduced in Congress on Wednesday night.

The budget bill was deemed a priority and officials were almost forced to approve it in its current form to avoid a complete US government shutdown starting next week.

The budget bill passed a day later, Thursday, with a 256-167 vote in the House of Representatives, and a 65-32 vote on the Senate floor, including with the embedded CLOUD Act that got zero discussion, feedback, or modifications from regulators.

The unaltered and now official CLOUD Act effectively gets rid of the need for search warrants and probable cause for grabbing a US citizen's data stored online.

US police only need to point the finger at some account, and tech companies must abide and provide all the needed details, regardless if the data is stored in the US or overseas.

Further, the bill recognizes foreign law enforcement and allows the US President to sign data-sharing agreements with other countries without congressional oversight. The CLOUD Act will then allow foreign law enforcement to require data on their own citizens stored in the US, also without obtaining a warrant or proving probable cause.

More Info:
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/go...ding-bill/
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/artic...udget-bill

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03-23-2018, 11:21 PM
Post: #11
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Silencing Internet Users Doesn’t Make Us Safer
Excellent article at
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/03/ho...d-internet

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03-24-2018, 12:43 AM
Post: #12
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
In victory for Dart, time’s up for prostitution ads on Craigslist, other sites
https://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/...her-sites/
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03-24-2018, 01:06 AM
Post: #13
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Short takes from "The Honest Courtesan"

...Senator Richard Blumenthal -- who has spent years attacking the internet, and who has already stated that if SESTA kills small internet businesses he would consider that a good thing...sent out a letter...[in which] almost everything stated...is 100% factually wrong...so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he's backing. Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that's wrong with the statement, noting that it...shows that SESTA's main sponsors don't even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230...you have to start wondering what the hell is happening in the Senate, and in particular in Senator Blumenthal's office. He is not just doing a big thing badly -- he is gleefully spouting the exact opposite of basic facts about both the existing law, and the bill he sponsored. I know that politicians aren't exactly known for their honesty, but he seems to be taking this to new levels...

Economist Scott Cunningham, whom I've castigated more than once for not grasping basic facts about the demimonde, sure understands this one:
...This bill claims to be all about sex trafficking, but it seems to have a deep ignorance about how these markets work and a deep ignorance about the benefits of these technologies. The people who support it don’t know about the client screening, they don’t know about the movement indoors and they don’t know that women are using these online platforms in order to avoid danger. They don’t know or they don’t care.
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03-25-2018, 12:44 PM
Post: #14
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Feds can pay award for turning in foreign violators of U.S. prostitution law
In regard to new law quoted below, is the definition of "sex trafficking" in Pub. L 106-386 which defines "sex trafficking" to include:
"(9) Sex trafficking.--The term ``sex trafficking'' means the
recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining
of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act."

A bill became the vehicle for passage of the government spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2018. On March 22, 2018, the House replaced the text of the bill with the spending bill.

This bill was formerly the TARGET Act:

H.R. 1625 amends the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to authorize the State Department and law enforcement agencies to target international human traffickers by offering financial rewards for their arrest or conviction. The Department currently has a rewards program that uses appropriated funds to offer cash awards to deter transnational organized crime.

The legislation broadens the program to explicitly include severe forms of human trafficking, which are sex trafficking and labor trafficking as defined in Pub.L. 106-386. That law came from [H.R. 3244 (106th): Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000]

Any proposals to pay rewards are submitted to the Department of State by the Chief of Mission at a U.S. Embassy at the behest of a U.S. law enforcement agency. Reward proposals are carefully reviewed by an interagency committee, which makes a recommendation for a reward payment to the Secretary of State. Only the Secretary of State has the authority to determine if a reward should be paid. In cases where there is federal criminal jurisdiction, the Secretary must obtain the concurrence of the Attorney General.

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03-28-2018, 02:21 AM
Post: #15
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
Wix, Squarspace and Wordpress just banned adult websites. The boards' nightshift and myscarletbook.com have shut down. Escort-Ads Twitter has been suspended

Wordpress doesn't allow "Post links, text, or images promoting or advertising escort or erotic services."

For escorts it is suggested Do not use .com, .net, or .org.
Regardless of where your site is hosted, US has total jurisdiction over those domains.
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03-28-2018, 04:51 PM
Post: #16
RE: Escort sites may start shutting down as a law passed the Senate on 3/21/2018. City V
A fallacy being promoted is that overseas persons/entities are beyond the reach of US law enforcement. The majority of Mueller’s indictments are for people who lived/acted overseas while violating US law. Hackers/torrent players have been extradited back to the US. Julian Asaange is still living in an embassy to avoid extradition to the US, even though the original charges against him back in Sweden have been dropped. These escort ad executives and owners apparently have decided that it’s not worth the risk of winning a diplomatic standoff over a prostitution or sex trafficking charge. They probably figure their home countries aren’t going to come to their defense."
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