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"online Sex Advertising Crackdown" In New Scientist

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Yesterday, New Scientist posted a story "Online sex advertising crackdown could endanger women" but unfortunately I don't have a sub so can't read it. Is there really a 'crackdown' at the moment? What sites have been affected (none I usually visit, by the look of it)?

This isn't just idle curiosity by the way, I run an escort's site for her so if there really is a crackdown it would be useful to know who/what they're targeting.

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It's American. No mention of Eros, oddly (a massive site and where virtually all my bookings came from when I went). Usual one-sided cobblers from the antis:

Online sex advertising crackdown could endanger women

30 November 2011 by Wendy Zukerman

Magazine issue 2840. Subscribe and save

Escort sites are being shut down, but how will this affect the sex industry?

WHEN Natalie Reign was a sex worker she had a Twitter account, website, personal forum and mailing list. "I was a bit of a tech geek," she says.

Reign, a pseudonym, is typical of many sex workers nowadays, who have turned to the internet to advertise their services. And it's not just the workers. TheEroticReview.com allows clients to review their experience with a sex worker, and receives up to a million visitors every month in the US alone.

Online or not, the sale of sex services is illegal in the US, apart from in a few counties in Nevada, and the FBI is closing down websites that advertise sexual services online. Earlier this month, two Philadelphia-based companies, R. S. Duffy and National A-1 Advertising pleaded guilty to money laundering while operating Escorts.com, a site on which sex workers could advertise and subscribers were charged for access. The site was closed down and the firms have agreed to forfeit $4.9 million of their profits and pay a $1.5 million fine.

But the internet is not just more convenient for sex workers: recent research suggests it could be safer too. Last year, Scott Cunningham, an economist at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Todd Kendall of Clemson University in South Carolina surveyed 685 sex workers advertising online rather than in brothels or on the street. It was the largest survey of its kind and they found that online sex workers saw, on average, two fewer clients per week. They also saw a higher proportion of "regulars" - considered less risky - than their streetwalking counterparts (Journal of Urban Economics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2010.12.001).

More than 90 per cent of those surveyed were self-employed. In contrast, previous studies of street sex workers found that between 40 and 80 per cent worked for pimps.

Between 35 and 95 per cent of sex workers say they have experienced violence in the course of their work, depending on the group surveyed. These days, websites such as Preferred411.com and Datecheck.org are used by workers to screen and review clients, says Reign. When working as an escort, she only saw new customers who had references from at least two other women. "I was in the upper echelons of the safest workers, but it is a common process," she says.

This is not to say that obtaining clients online is without risk. In the US, the so-called Long Island serial killer may have been responsible for the murders of up to 13 women who used the website Craigslist to obtain clients. "Online prostitution contains all the harms and risks of other forms, it's just a new way to pimp and advertise, and expand the industry," says Sheila Jeffreys, who studies sexual politics at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

There is evidence that online workers engage in less risky sexual behaviour, however. Cunningham found that around 56 per cent of all transactions from online workers were unprotected sexual acts. Previous studies show 80 per cent of street-worker transactions are carried out without a condom.

Jeffreys says online prostitution legitimises a business that still carries serious risks. "This isn't like dentistry or hairdressing. Women enter homes and will never know who these men are. There is no way you can make that safe.

Edited by AdorableAmy

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.Some of the quotes in the article looked bizarre to me "Online prostitution contains all the harms and risks of other forms, it's just a new way to pimp and advertise, and expand the industry," says Sheila Jeffreys- Sheila Jeffreys is a rad fem abolitionist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Jeffreys) and peddles such nonsence. And the quote "Cunningham found that around 56 per cent of all transactions from online workers were unprotected sexual acts." needs qualification-if you look at the actual paper ". Fellatio appears to be the most common sexual practice, with 50.4% of all transactions involving unprotected fellatio, and another 31.2% involving fellatio with a condom. Vaginal sex is common as well, and anal sex less frequent, but only 6.1% of all transactions involved unprotected vaginal or anal sex, So they have added the OWO to the bareback score to come up with the scary 56% quote.

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