CHICAGO (CBS) – About two dozen sex workers and their advocates demonstrated in Daley Plaza on Wednesday afternoon, calling for the decriminalization of the sex trade.
“We want the city of Chicago to back down,” said a sex worker who asked to be identified as “Red”.
“It can give us the ability to work on our children’s schedules or our schools’ schedules, and charge money that we know could give us a living wage, which is what so many jobs here at. Chicago don’t get it, ”Red said. “We are in our communities, we support our families, we are students and we try to take care of ourselves in the best possible way, and we are tired of the bullying.”
Red and others also protested the move by backpage.com stop taking “adult” advertisements, which in this case mean advertisements for prostitution. The website closed its adult ads section this month after local and federal officials complained it was facilitating criminal activity.
“I am doing my normal job. And my ability to work and work in sex is completely compromised by the closure of Backpage right now, ”Red said.
Steve Miller of WBBM asked Red what the loss of Backpage’s decision would be.
“Hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month,” Red replied.
Sex workers said they wanted Backpage to restore adult ads.
A recent US Senate report alleged that the site had “cleaned up” ads for prostitution and child sex trafficking, removing words like “teenager” or “Lolita,” which made it clear that the ads were about sex. illegal. Backpage removed its adult advertising section last week, and company executives refused to testify before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about the report, citing their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Prosecutors have alleged that more than 90 percent of Backpage’s revenue – millions of dollars each month – comes from adult escort ads that use coded language and near-nude photos to offer sex for money.
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Backpage has denied the allegations in the subcommittee report and said it closed its adult section to protest censorship.