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Artists draw attention to modern slavery. From domestic slave to the Democratic Convention. Sex trafficking victim speaks out. Story highlights The bill that passed Congress may actually harm sex workers, critics say Internet forums provide protections for sex workers, who find work off streets.
Seeing her own reflection "was so traumatizing" for Stark, a transgender woman who hadn't yet undergone the surgical treatments she knew she needed. Some days, she couldn't leave the house.
She tried taking her own life. An Army veteran living with disability, she could not get this surgical care from her usual provider, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which does not pay for or perform gender transition-related surgeries. Stark calls Wisconsin home but mostly lives out of a suitcase, maintaining a busy schedule as an escort, adult film performer, photographer and phone sex operator. But now, her career is coming to an abrupt end after a bill passed by Congress in March.
Senate approves anti-sex-trafficking bill. I just call it the end of my career, essentially," she said. The bill, called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act , prompted the online bulletin board Craigslist to shut down its personal ads two days after its passage.
The bill was directed against sex trafficking, not the volitional career in sex work to which Stark credits her own survival. Craigslist is an online classifieds site, divided by city or geographic area, through which users advertise a range of goods, services, jobs and housing. Now awaiting the president's signature, the bill paves the way for sex trafficking survivors to hold websites accountable for "knowingly" facilitating their abuse.
The legislation chips away at part of a act that gave a broad layer of immunity to online companies, such as Facebook or Twitter, from being held liable for what their users post. The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. Though the bill aims to crack down on sex trafficking and protect survivors, critics say it threatens the lives and livelihoods of sex workers who choose to work in the profession by encouraging websites like Craigslist to censor their content -- pushing some sex workers back out to the street and removing their tools for finding and screening clients.
Some sex workers are already losing their housing as a direct result of forums like Craigslist personals going dark, according to Christa B. Daring, board president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Many pay rent week-to-week and struggle to feed themselves and their children, they said. Craigslist was the first site Stark used to transition away from the street, where she relied on her military training to make "snap judgments" to stay out of harm's way, dodge potentially dangerous clients and avoid getting arrested -- again.
Even with the advantage of her military training, however, "most often, physical appearance and demeanor really don't tell you a whole lot," she said. Many sex workers run background checks on clients, communicate through online forums and check "bad date lists," which sex workers create to warn others about hostile clients. Stark also has a mandatory hour waiting period before she agrees to meet clients, giving her time to check for criminal records and other warning signs.
Today alone there have been around posts made in the New York City escorts section. Who knows how many of those are scams or duplicates. Cityvibe is an escort directory which bills itself as "the hottest and most feature driven Adult Directory Online. In the New York area, there are posts this includes escort and massage services. And a banner informs us that 94 members are "currently logged in and available for immediate booking! CityVibe allows you to punch in an address and pull up a Google map of all the incall escorts in your area.
For those who are not used to the lingo, "incall," means you get to go to their places. And if an escort is currently logged in, a little icon shows that they're available for "immediate booking" via text message, sort of like a taxi cab light. ErosGuide puts an emphasis on search: But negative points for all the pop-ups. We're not looking for hookers in , here. There are a ton of male escort services online, too. Men4RentNow is "the fastest way to meet local escorts and masseurs right now.
In New York, there are listings. Men4RentNow has many of the same features as straight escort services, but with catchy, gay-themed names! Instead of "favorites," they offer a "stud list": See when your favorite Studs are online now! Then there of course countless independent escort services, small classifieds websites, etc.
CityVibe Cityvibe is an escort directory which bills itself as "the hottest and most feature driven Adult Directory Online. There are more than listings in the NYC area..