Women's March movement calls shutting down Backpage 'absolute crisis'
WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Organizers from the Women's March are calling the shutting down of Backpage.com "an absolute crisis for sex workers" in a statement posted through their Twitter account.
In a tweetstorm, organizers say Backpage.com was a safe place for sex workers to keep in touch with clients.
"Sex workers rights are women's rights," Women's March said on Twitter.
A coalition group associated with the organizers known as Safe Spaces DC also stood against closing down the website.
"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," Safe Spaces DC said on Twitter.
Safe Spaces DC also sent out an informational blurb in response to the notion that "all sex workers are forced into the sex trade."
The organization told their followers that "people choose sex work for a wide range of reasons -- flexible schedules, higher pay than many other entry-level jobs, or because they enjoy it.....we want to make sure people have options and resources."
On Friday, the federal government seized Backpage.com and other websites affiliated with it that were well known for listing adult escort services. The government is accusing the owners of the website of facilitating prostitution, money laundering and money laundering.
The Washington Post reports prostitution was facilitated through advertisements that were placed on the website. 17 victims were involved with some as young as 14 years old.
In 2016, the CEO of Backpage.com was arrested on sex trafficking charges. At the time, it was reported Backpage.com took in $50 million in ad revenue between 2013 and 2015.
A bill passed in March by Congress known as the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act holds websites liable for the actions users make on their platform.