This failure to distinguish between ads for prostitution and any discussion of prostitution is part of what has sex workers and free-speech advocates so worried. Sex worker blogs could be shut down, and they could find their social-media accounts suspended simply for being honest about their work. This is because the core of FOSTA makes it a federal crime to "promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person," punishable by up to 10 years in prison, plus fines. For promoting the prostitution of five or more people, the penalty is 25 years, and the same if promoting someone's prostitution "contributed to sex trafficking.
Sex workers don't have to worry about being punished for posting their own ads, but they could run afoul of the law if working in pairs or helping a colleague place an ad.
Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast. A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know and nothing you don't. The primary target are websites, apps, messageboards, and other digital publishers, which have deeper pockets. To reach them, Congress had to carve a hole in Section , which has governed the internet for 22 years. It protects web platforms from being sued in civil court or criminally charged by state prosecutors for third-party i.
It doesn't apply for federal crimes. Section says that unless they create the content in whole or part, these platforms shall not be treated as the speaker of such content, and good-faith efforts at content moderation like banning ads that explicitly mention illegal acts or auto-filtering out content that contains prohibited words do not change this. That's why sites are scrambling right now to prohibit any content that could get them held liable.
It's probably too late, or at least would be if legislators get their way. FOSTA "shall apply regardless of whether the conduct alleged occurred… before, on, or after such date of enactment. No less than the U. Department of Justice has urged against passing FOSTA, calling it unconstitutional and saying that it would make prosecuting sex traffickers harder.
Ron Wyden Wednesday from the Senate floor. Wyden—who co-authored Section —was the only Democrat to vote against the bill, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul the only Republican.
An amendment to FOSTA proposed by Wyden would have clarified that websites can try to filter out illegal content without increasing their liability, but it was overwhelmingly defeated. Wyden stressed that FOSTA is not a matter of substituting some free-speech rights for a better ability to stop sex trafficking. Rather, it's imposing serious burdens while at best doing nothing for trafficking victims and quite likely making their lives worse.
For one thing, it incentivizes law enforcement to go after third parties rather than stop traffickers or rescue victims. It also takes away an important tool for finding trafficking victims—the open internet. Online ads have allowed an untold number of victims to be identified and found. What's more, the digital trail of ads, emails, and texts can provide evidence that makes catching and prosecuting the perpetrators easier.
Law enforcement loses this when traffickers switch to private, encrypted, or dark web forums. Many sex-trafficking survivors and victims groups vocally opposed FOSTA, saying it fails to address the things they really need like housing and job assistance and will make saving future victims harder.
Plus, even those being forced or coerced into prostitution benefit from things like screening out violent clients and not having to walk the streets. The bottom line is that FOSTA "is not going to prevent sex trafficking [and] it's not going to stop young people from becoming victims," Wyden said. What it will do is create "an enormous chilling effect on speech in America," as sites move to squelch anything remotely related to a liability and "powerful political" forces weaponize it against minority voices.
I posted and responded to many ads over the 17 years since that first casual encounter. Near-immediate, easy, anonymous, it served as a playground for my not-insubstantial id. All manner of perversions were laid bare, all interest groups represented.
Men sought women, women sought men, multiple men sought men, couples sought women and all other permutations one could calculate.
It was an underbelly of sorts, but a beloved one. Where else could a woman decide she might like to engage in some light bondage at 2 a. Even as technology advanced and others moved on to Tinder and other apps, I remained loyal to Craigslist, preferring the anonymity of the platform as well as the democratic base of people attracted by the free, low-commitment interface.
The message users receive if they attempt to click on any of the personals sections reads:. I was capable of losing a whole day to the section, refreshing my email inbox and responding in a trancelike state. The section enabled my addictive personality, allowing me to too easily engage in behaviors that became unhealthy for me. I found myself in dangerous situations that sometimes had consequences.