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October 18, 2016

SF Sex Workers To Protest Backpage Bust

SAN FRANCISCO—It's difficult enough to make a living these days as a sex worker, and the various legal actions taken against websites that aid the workers in finding clients, not to mention the busts of some of their CEOs, has only made things worse—and Bay Area sex workers and their supporters plan to make a stink about it. "On October 6, the CEO of Backpage.com, the world's second-largest online classifieds site, was arrested in Texas under a California warrant for pimping, conspiracy, pimping of a minor, and attempted pimping of a minor," noted Claire Alwyne of the Erotic Service Providers Union, referring to the complaint issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is currently running for U.S. Senate. "This is not about trafficking or the sexual exploitation of children; indeed, the charges make no mention of that. Instead it is just the latest attempt to shut down online sex work advertising. First the Government went after the "adult services" section on Craigslist. Then they took down sex-ad forum MyRedbook.com, the gay prostitution site Rentboy.com, and escort review forum The Review Board. And now Backpage. This will not stop sex work. Instead it makes sex work less safe. In effect, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris is making the lives of sex workers more dangerous to boost her Senate hopes and political career." So the sex workers and others have planned to mount a protest march outside the California Supreme Court building to protest the arrest of Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer on October 25, outside the Supreme Court's headquarters at 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The demonstration will begin at noon and last for approximately one hour. Organizations that will be out in full force will include the ESPU (Erotic Service Providers Union), SWOP Bay (SF Bay Area chapter of Sex Workers Outreach Project), and the US PROStitutes Collective. Sex workers in major cities across the USA will also be demonstrating on the same day. "Sex workers have had enough!" Alwyne declared. "We will be demonstrating outside the California Supreme Court to make the point that shutting down online sites carrying ads for sexual services makes sex work less safe." Those seeking more information on the protests may contact Alwyne at info@esplerp.org.

 
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