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April 12 2018

Women's March Upset that Sex Trafficking Website Has Been Shut Down

by Charlotte Hays

Backpage.com, a website that allegedly facilitated sex trafficking, has been shut down.

According to a 93-page federal indictment, Backpage gave out explicit information on women as young as fourteen. The closing of Backpage was accompanied by President Trump's signing new anti-trafficking legislation, which passed with a nearly unanimous vote.

A triumph for women, right?

Not so fast. The Women's March tweeted the following:

The shutting down of #Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients. Sex workers rights are women’s rights.

The Women's March also posted a comment from something called Collective Action for Safe Spaces, a pro-prostitution organization:

Sex work is consensual. Sex trafficking is coerced. The crackdown on Backpage is not about ending trafficking; it’s motivated by the patriarchal notion that women should not be free to do what we want with our bodies.

The Women's March promises it will be "sharing more about sex workers rights to uplift this crucial issue" in the coming days.

Here's something I hope they will share: whatever you think about whether prostitution should be legal or illegal, this is a sad and dangerous way for women to earn a living.

As the Collective Action for Safe Spaces notes, there are a variety of reasons that women fall into prostitution, including "because it's the only option available to them while experiencing homelessness."

But that doesn't make it a pleasant or safe career choice. If you really care about women, a better approach is to help women avoid adopting this degrading and perilous life.  

As Sohrab Ahmari points out they aren't merely defending the individual woman forced into prostitution to feed her children but rather a vast and sordid industry:

The rights of the prostitution industry–for that is what we are discussing, a vast and seedy global enterprise–most certainly don’t override the rights of exploited and abused women and girls. Or at least, they shouldn’t, in a morally ordered worldview.

As the feminist U.K. journalist Julie Bindel noted in a landmark Spectator report last year, euphemisms such as “sex work” and “happy hooker” mask a grimy reality: “Women and girls in prostitution are overwhelmingly from abusive backgrounds, living in poverty, and otherwise marginalised. They are not free or empowered: they are abused and trapped. . . . It is not ‘sex work’. Most of the time, it is modern slavery.”

Most jarring of all is the March’s refusal to even mention the downsides of Backpage and its alleged role in sex trafficking. Then again, this is a salutary, clarifying moment: Anti-Trump women who have so far ignored or tolerated the group’s ideological extremism now have no excuse.

 If there is ever a reason to rant about "the patriarchy," the johns who take advantage of these at-risk women are that reason. 

The Women's March has had some chilling connections, but this takes the cake.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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