Houston! We have a problem! Our COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT (of 1996) was a short-sighted piece of legislation which indemnified website owners against prosecution for publishing user-generated third party content. We have to fix that!
Addressing Houston in this metaphoric scenario is the US congress to the electorate. Essentially, they’re saying “We didn’t really understand the Internet in its infancy and passed a flawed bill which as it turned out protects sex trafficking sites the likes of BACKPAGE from prosecution under federal law.”
The cry to Houston began a few years back. And now just yesterday, the House passed a bill aimed at the problem by a vote of 388-25. FOSTA SESTA (the acronym for the bill) now goes to the Senate where it’s expected to pass easily and then to the president for signature. His very own daughter applauds the bill. The result is already a foregone conclusion. It will become law shortly.
Really, this initiative should be relabeled “The Anti-Backpage law,” because without Backpage and its refusal to shut down, I’m not sure the bill ever would have been introduced. Ot it would have come years later. Either way, make no mistake about it. This law is directed at Backpage.
Clearly, the site is on its deathbed. All that remains to be seen is whether it shuts down of its volition or chooses to litigate and extend its life to drain the last dollar from the site.
So what would all this mean for the escort industry. Well first, you know it’s not going to go away. Where there’s demand there will be supply. No matter how many sites the gov shuts down, there will always be at least one in its place to fill the void. Busting these individual sites is akin to police arresting prostitutes. They’ll never get them all. It’s as fruitless as the drug war. People like to get high – and laid. It’s in the blood and not likely to change – ever!
What the closure of Backpage might do in the short term is send some of the trade back into the street. Which creates its own set of problems that might be worse than having Backpage as the center of the pay for play universe.
But even with Backpage shutting down, there are several other sites for consumers to reference. Adultsearch, Myprovider, Eros, Cityvibe, TNA, ECCIE, TER, Erotic monkey, Preferred411? These are just a few devoted to providing information to the boys (and girls). Yes, the biggest player in the business will go down as a result of the new legislation. But not a lot will change. Tricks will be tricks. And ho’s will be ho’s. That’s one immutable reality as timeless as death and taxes.