The town of Fife, Washington (population: 7000), passed a law in December that outlaws using the Internet (or pagers, cell phones and telephones) for the purposes of prostitution.
While this law seems mostly aimed at CraigsList (since that’s mostly what everyone is aware of), it still applies to the whole Internet — at least for Fife residents. It does make one wonder just how many sex workers there are in a town of 7000. One hundred? A thousand? Several thousand?
I feel this is the beginning of a disturbing trend. Last fall, many newspapers and weekly magazines stopped allowing adult ads. Fife may well start a trend other cities will follow. The effect will not be one of stopping a “problem”; rather it will drive people even further underground and into danger. We’ve seen that again and again with street sex workers when cities decided to “clean up.” Marginalizing and criminalizing does nothing but put the workers in harm’s way.
Not that anyone cares.