From the Editor: On April 6th, 2018, Backpage was seized by the Federal Government of the United States and millions of sex workers worldwide unilaterally had their business advertising taken down by the US Govt, with no recourse and no help from anyone afterwards.
This event was brilliantly laid out in a twitter thread from @AnarresAnsible who was a victim of this senseless closure and we thought it would be appropriate to collate these tweets into a blog post for our readers. We found this Twitter thread to connect the epic failure of large groups of feminists to protect reproductive rights and adult consensual sex work and rightly point ot that they need us in this fight.
Please follow @AnarresAnsible so you can retweet and share with your own following to raise awareness about the consequences of this action. Here is the link to the original thread.
Today marks the 5th anniversary of Backpage dot com, a major venue for sex workers to advertise their business, being taken down.
5 years ago, millions of sex workers worldwide unilaterally had their business advertising taken down by the U.S. Goverment, with no recourse and no help from anyone afterwards. I was one such person.
Most of us who used Backpage were those who couldn't use fancier sites like Eros Guide to advertise. We were on the low end of the hierarchy; we worked part time, we had atypical body-types. We were lower income. Which is why OUR advertising was targeted.
The alleged reason for this seizure of a domain was "sex trafficking of minors" on the site, but any trafficker foolish enough to use Backpage to advertise their victim usually got caught. There was zero tolerance for such a thing by the owners of the site.
Most of us were simply consenting adults using the site to get clients, but that didn't matter to hysterical Americans who like to pretend that "prostitution" or "whoring" is some type of aberration in society instead of a normal part of it.
And that's what whores are; we are normal human beings. We aren't "broken things", we aren't "trafficked", we aren't "addicted", we aren't a "different species". We are normal human beings.
And we deserve to advertise our services in peace.
Yes, we do. Sex work between consenting adults should be decriminalized. New Zealand, for instance, has decriminalized sex work for their citizens since 2003, and their civilization didn't collapse as a result. Neither would ours if we did a similar thing.
In fact, sex work criminalization isn't the norm in society, most societies throughout history had no such thing, or at least didn't ban whoring altogether, in every instance. Our so-called "modern society" is the aberration, not the norm, in regards to sex work.
Even during medieval Europe, no one would have ever considered banning the advertisement of sex work, which our "modern America" did on April 6th, 2018, for the majority of in-person sex workers.
When Backpage went down, we had to scramble to find other advertising. We had to try to get Gov't benefits in a country where such benefits are NOT an entitlement. We had to go work on the street, where it's dangerous.
And religious, feminist, and other groups celebrated this!
And it didn't end there. Many other sites, fearful of the Feds coming after them, had to end advertising for US sex workers. And others, like Adlist24, and CityXGuide, were taken down like Backpage was. I've personally lost about seven ad venues in five years.
If one advertising site went down, I had to scramble to find another. I refused to go the dangerous route of street work. But many others had no choice.
Fortunately for me, I was able to get a "straight" job distributing flyers. This didn't meet my basic needs, but it helped to pay for advertising. It was also instrumental in getting Unemployment Benefits and SNAP when the Covid Lockdown happened.
Thanks to the Covid benefits, I didn't have to work for the years I got them. But I should have gotten these benefits when Backpage went down. Because the Feds took away my means of earning money without compensation to me. It took a pandemic to finally get that compensation.
Unfortunately, these benefits have now run their course, and now I have to go back to work.
Ironic, yes. Because if I still got them, I wouldn't have to return to sex work.
And sex work it is, because getting a "straight job" that paid a living wage or salary would be rather difficult for me with the lack of work history I have.
Not impossible, but certainly difficult.
I don't mind the work, tbh, but in 2023, the Corporate-State still finds ways to persecute sex workers. We are routinely banned from social media, and now their target is online sex work since they've already got their pound of flesh from in-person workers like myself.
And banking is a problem for us. Payment apps discriminate against us, and we lose bank accounts.
So I have the unenviable task of trying to protect myself and what little finances I have from this in the future.
Oh, and now there's "facial recognition", which is and has been used to discriminate against us. I have to protect myself from that.
But, here's the thing. Five years later, many of the same "feminists" who once supported sex workers losing advertising are now scrambling to protect their own freedoms, because ironically yet unsurprisingly, the same tactics used against us are being used against them.
But, you see, if women are to control our bodies in regards to those issues, then we have to control our bodies when it comes to engaging in sex work. The two are one and the same.
Because you didn't support a woman's right to have sex for practical reasons, our reproductive rights are now again under attack. And using "Nordic Model" methods, too.
But, yeah, go ahead and keep sticking your head in the sand and pretend you're "fighting trafficking" while women in Red States can't get Plan B through the mail.
You can start by showing some ideological consistency by supporting women's right to use birth control AND have sex for practical reasons.
Stop pretending that grown women are pathetic barbie dolls and support our rights.
You may lose if you fight misogynists, but I guarantee you will definitely lose when fighting sex workers, because you're only fighting yourselves.