A huge amount of sex trades takes place online, or rather, took place. Websites like Craiglist and Backpage got shut down last year thanks to a Bill named FOSTA/SESTA. With online pages that allow advertising sex buying a human being for sex, even underage people was easy. It was a breeding ground for all kinds of illegal trades. The goal of the bill is to support the laws that ban the selling of sex. Basically. the idea behind it was to stop the demand. If there are no buyers, there is no business.
The first problem that was not taken into account was that those websites were also places for sex workers to exchange information. Important information about clients who crossed boundaries got violent or did not pay the service. That information is essential to keep the sex workers who work on the street as save as possible. With Craiglist and Backpage went their safety net is gone too.
It is good to hold the pages where this advertising takes place accountable but when nobody makes a difference between illegal activities and legal once those who have to work, or even choose to work, in the sex industry are again victims.
A state cannot install laws that hurt the people it tries to protect, and such laws should not be decided by people who have never set foot into the business, who have no idea how it works and how the women connect to assure their safety.
By the end of 2018, the first sex work lobby day took place in Capitol Hill to address such issues. Their message was clear: You cannot make laws without consulting us.
For generations, sex workers have fought to decriminalize their work with little success in the USA. There have been success stories in other countries. In 2003 New Zealand removed criminal penalties. The only US state where selling sex is legal, is in Nevada, but only in places with less than 700 000 citizens, and even then the sex trade that happens on the streets is considered illegal.
Sex workers still aim for change that actually supports them and keeps them safe. In 2017 a bill was introduced to decriminalize sex work, though it did not pass, it got reintroduced shortly after.
In 2019 the debate whether or not to pass the bill is a part of the political talk for the Presidental candidates. Most Democratic candidates support partial decriminalization, which means workers would not be arrested but buying sex would still be illegal.
However, the outcome will be. The discussion made it to the mainstream media and is not taken place in the shadows, and this, if nothing else, is progress.