April 13 2018
On Wednesday, the President signed into law the“Fosta” Bill imposing criminal penalties on Internet companies permitting prostitution ads on their sites.
This comes just seven days after the executives at Backpage.com were raided and arrested. Some are already entering guilty pleas in multiple State and Federal prosecutions. For Backpage, it was a 100 million dollar business. There are some good and bad things about the law. Craigslist has already taken down their “personals” section. This is going to take a huge bite out the ability of prostitutes to ply their trade via the Internet. This is also going to take away a huge tool used by law enforcement to identify human traffickers and people who have an interest in sex with children. The law in one respect is good, but in another bad in that it takes away the ability of law enforcement to track and identify pedophiles.
I have advocated for the legalization of prostitution in Florida. That would be a far better solution. Prostitution will never stop. It is the world’s oldest profession. Sensible regulation as opposed to criminalization, in my opinion, is a better solution.
The “Fosta” law will now be used to next target the “Escort” business here in Sarasota. Go online now and click on “Sarasota Escort” and see how many sites are up. My bet is that in thirty days, 90% of them will be gone. The “escorts” will now go to the social media dating sites and the dark web to place their advertisements. They will not go away, they will just be harder to find. This is going to push the prostitutes back into the bars and on the streets. It actually makes their business more dangerous. My prediction is that in the short term there will be a flood of high end prostitutes in the high end bars like the Ritz. Time will tell.