• Jaimee Johnson


I have been getting tagged in and asked a lot about the whole backpage shut down. It took me a couple days to understand my own thoughts on it and finally feel comfortable verbalizing it so here it goes...

If you are a part of the anti trafficking, anti exploitation , ending the demand , survivor community etc... in any shape way or form you have to understand you are a pioneer in a revolution. This is newly spotlighted and surfaced issue which means that the laws, tactics ..., understanding , awareness and anything else that comes along with it are bound to change many many times.

Backpage is gone. Advertising exploitation in the capacity that was once through sites like backpage is no longer going to be the same.

The FEDS got it ... they are not gonna let any site get to that level again so what does that really mean for the game and for this whole life period?

To me it’s the same as the transition from the streets to The net. Which didn’t happen THAT long ago. This transition was bound to happen. The problem of trafficking still existed before the internet came along to make it easier ... granted it has helped as a tool for location it has also helped to make the trafficking issue bigger and more accessible.

My point in this is that there is no point in us sitting here going back and forth about which is better .. to have backpage or not ... that is null and void ... to me the more important thing to do is to transition and understand this will be a turning point and we need to try to get two steps ahead instead of staying focused on what has already happened.

Now knowing the things we know ... when maybe we couldn’t recognize victims back when the blades were at their all time high ... now knowing the resources we have in place for victims , now knowing this isn’t an underground crime any longer but is actually being put in the spotlight ... how will we use this to our benefit?

I went back and forth a lot with this and understood both sides but at the end of the day I believe these sites were rightfully seized in a time the movement was ready for them to be. Now we just have to adjust like we have always had to and use our other tools and lived experience to continue to push forward and share our knowledge in other areas.

Backpage and the internet was just ONE WAY ... ONE TOOL.... and I think it says a lot about the movement in how comfortable we got with relying on things of this sort. Maybe this was timely for a wake up call. Maybe we have been getting lazy and dependent on things that we shouldn’t have and need to work in other areas and move other directions to really combat this issue from the roots.

This is a DISTRACTION to segregate and dismantle the movement against exploitation and if we aren't careful and smart it will work perfectly in its favor.

While we sit and argue back and forth about FOSTA/SESTA and backpage While we sit and have survivors trying to demolish other survivors , while organizations try to slander survivor leaders , and while organizations compete about numbers and who’s “rescued” more people than who ... or while survivor leaders continue to not feel a community they can confide in.

Trafficking is evolving. Pimps aren’t sitting on social media arguing back and forth about things like ...this ... pimps are watching us tear our own movement down while finding new avenues to exploit their victims.

One thing I know is that if we can’t roll with change we shouldn’t be in this movement because it won’t be the last time drastic change occurs just like it wasn’t the first. We can’t sit here and say we are focused on bringing justice to the victims and really focused on eradicating this issue if we are sitting here fighting AGAINST one another.

Isn’t this obstacle big enough? When are we going to stop getting in our own way?

And to my survivor community as well as those who identify as choosing sex work ... remember what we do best. We ADJUST and ADAPT. That skill is crucial to keep prevalent if you plan to be in this for the long haul. If nothing else I have found that both groups agree on ONE THING. Trafficking is wrong. So why don’t we start trying to find our commonalities and use our strengths to really make change instead of using our strengths to continue division.

I say this with love ❤️

Can we get back to the real goal now please?

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