The Women’s March and some other liberals aren’t happy that Backpage is being shut down, calling it a “crisis” for sex-trade workers.
In a weekend tweet, the certified account for the Women’s March, which organized anti-Trump and other marches, said the FBI’s seizure of Backpage would create “an absolute crisis.”
“The shutting down of #Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients,” the March claimed, in the name of feminism.
“Sex workers rights are women’s rights,” the tweet explained.
The March also tagged other Twitter accounts, suggesting that people follow them “for more info.”
A later tweet that also included the hashtag “Sex Work Is Work,” the March’s account said that it would “be sharing more about sex workers rights to uplift this critical issue.”
Federal law-enforcement officials seized Backpage last week and have been emboldened to act against similar sites by last month’s near-unanimous passage of a bill popularly known as SESTA-FOSTA, though it awaits President Trump’s signature
The March’s initial comment came as an approving re-tweet of a claim by “Collective Action for Safe Spaces” that “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.”
And the pro-prostitution groups have an ally on the D.C. Council who on Monday called on the city’s police to leave streetwalkers alone.
Councilmember David Grosso, an at-large independent, said in a statement that Backpage and other sites “allowed sex workers to operate with a greater degree of safety than on the streets.”
He said shutting down these websites “rather than help people who are being coerced into commercial sex … will be to push trafficking further underground.”
The collateral damage is also unacceptable, Mr. Grosso said, “harming innumerable people involved in the sex trade who are not being coerced but, by a complex combination of choice and circumstance, are seeking to earn money.”
“Our government needs to take bold and urgent action, he said. “I call on Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of those involved in commercial sex unless the individual has caused violence or coercion,” he wrote.
Collective Action for Safe Spaces publicly applauded Mr. Grosso.
“The lives of people in the sex trade are on the line. Thank you,” the group said.