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This move drew immediate skepticism from within the legal community.

Both bills — the House bill known as FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and the Senate bill, SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — have been hailed by advocates as a victory for sex trafficking victims.Wondering why Craigslist recently killed its (in)famous Personals section?You can thank Congress — and you can start bracing for more deletions and censorship to come.This protocol was later expounded upon in a 2014 follow-up that examined issues of consent and asserted that “consent is always irrelevant to determining whether the crime of human trafficking has occurred.” However, sex workers have argued vociferously that regardless of legal precedent, this conflation makes both consensual and nonconsensual sex workers less safe.Melissa Mariposa, who responded to the bill by creating an offshore-hosted, sex worker-friendly ISP, described the risks to the Daily Dot: “If sex workers lose their storefront and safety tools, two things are going to happen,” Mariposa explained. Number two, prostitution is going to be pushed right back on the street and in hotel bars by women who will no longer want to see internet clientele and would rather take the risks freelancing.The facts and statistics provided below are selections from studies and provide factual information based on the research team’s findings.

The information is not intended to diminish the possibility of risk to you or someone you know.

What FOSTA-SESTA has actually done, however, is create confusion and immediate repercussions among a range of internet sites as they grapple with the ruling’s sweeping language. All of this bodes poorly for the internet as a whole.

After all, as many opponents of the bill have pointed out, the law doesn’t appear to do anything concrete to target illegal sex trafficking directly, and instead threatens to “increase violence against the most marginalized.” But it does make it a lot easier to censor free speech on small websites — as evidenced by the immediate ramifications the law has had across the internet.

Identifying perpetrators, however, remains challenging. The reality is that authorities have had very little success effectively prosecuting sex traffickers under existing criminal law.

In 2014, according to the same State report, a total of 392 sex trafficking investigations led to the prosecution of 105 defendants for sex trafficking.

In January 2017, a Senate investigation ultimately found Backpage to be complicit in obscuring ads for child trafficking.