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According to the San Francisco Chronicle, crimes related to pimping and sex trafficking have more than tripled in 2018—and police believe that the trend may be the result of the government shutdown of Backpage.com, which was notorious for sex-for-sale online classified ads.

Antonio Flores of the San Francisco Police Department’s special victims and human trafficking unit told the newspaper, “A few sex workers are becoming violent. Then there are those that tend to prey on sex workers.”

Pike Long—deputy director of St. James Infirmary, a peer-based health and safety clinic for sex workers—told the paper, “Without being able to advertise online, a huge number of sex workers were forced to go outside, and many have reported that former pimps came out of the woodwork offering to ‘manage their business’ again since they were now rendered unable to find and screen clients online.”

Long said, “The very bill that was supposed to stop trafficking has quite literally given formerly irrelevant traffickers new life.”

 

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