SWOP USA released a media statement about the closing. The full text is below.
Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, a social justice and anti-violence project by and for sex workers, decries trafficking and demands protections for workers. In the debate regarding the coercive shutdown of the Craigslist adult services sections the voices of sex workers have been conspicuously overlooked. Trafficking is not sex worki. Real traffickers and child abusers must be stopped. Sex workers are in a unique position to help end trafficking, if our perspectives are taken into account. Based on our extensive knowledge and experience with the sex industry, SWOP calls on elected officials and members of law enforcement to pursue a sane and effective approach to ending trafficking.
The conflation of consensual sex worki with rape is a disservice to both victims of trafficking and to sex workers. Persecuting consenting adults for exchanging sex for money is a waste of precious resources that could better be used providing services and legal protections for minors and others who have been abused.
Trafficking and child sexual abuse are not sex worki. Real traffickers must be stopped. Sex workers need health and labor protections to keep them safe while working and the ability to report crimes to the police if they are violated.
Sex workers and our clients are part of the solution- not the problem- to identify and root out real abuses. Sex workers and our clients are best situated to recognize suspicious or illegitimate activity on the Internet. The criminal status of some sex worki is a barrier to helping law enforcement tap into this vital resource.
Since sex workers are not afforded equal legal protection from sexual assault and theft, we self-police by monitoring and identifying predators, work cooperatively to create safe workspaces and advise each other in safety methods that are critical to survival. Nobody is better situated to speak to the real problems and respective solutions for this community than sex workers.
SWOP demands that the voices of sex workers be included in all discussions of issues related to the commercial sex industry, particularly when the venues in which we communicate and keep each other safe are concerned. Purported rights groups, such as Change.org, have ignored sex worker voices while wrongfully vilifying Craigslist as a cause of- rather than an ally in stopping- trafficking. The continued silencing of sex workers, the trend to shut down the spaces where we communicate and the disregard of our expert knowledge demonstrate clearly that these efforts are more about stomping out sex for sale in general than in protecting those who are actually abused.