An Industry Update: First Quarter

The first quarter of 2018 has passed quickly, and with it came quite a few incredible steps to fight trafficking. Similarly, the support for sexual assault and rape survivors has increasingly gained traction as more people continue to come forward to tell their stories.

In early April, the site most known for its facilitation of trafficking, Backpage.com, was shut down. After countless stories came forward about women and children being trafficked over Backpage, this is a huge win for anti-trafficking efforts. It was even said by the state of California that 90% of Backpage’s income came from its “adult” promotions (Newsweek).

Another matter for the industry is the FOSTA/SESTA bill, approved by President Trump also in early April. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) make it illegal for websites to knowingly assist in the trafficking of humans. While these bills have been seen as “controversial” (many articles have expressed concern for free speech rights), these bills help hold websites accountable to the criminal act of profiting off of trafficking that happens on their site.

There has also continued to be numerous victims coming forward with sexual harassment and rape charges. The movement to change this culture, especially in the media, has only continued to grow. Many women have vocalized their support for survivors, and I think this trend will only continue to grow until changes are made and people in positions of power are held responsible for these kinds of actions.

While we still have a long way to go to minimize sex trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse, the last few months have given us great steps toward getting there.

(Please note: this is my interpretation of our society as a whole as it is today in its standing on the issue of sexual exploitation and trafficking.)

 

Abby Shrewsbury


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