On Wednesday, President Trump signed the Fosta law making it illegal for Internet companies to allow ads that facilitate prostitution.
This is just seven days after the men running Backpage.com were arrested. Some of them are already pleading guilty. That put an end to their 100 million dollar business. Craigslist has already taken down their personals. The escorts in Ft. Myers now are going to have to find another way to advertise. They will be forced back into the bars and pick up place and onto the “Dark Web” where the sites are hosted overseas on in Countries without extradition. A 100 million dollar business is not going to just go away, it will just go underground.
As a sex crime lawyer I expect to see the people running the escort sites arrested and prosecuted in the very near future. There are First Amendment issues involved in the new law. It is imposing criminal liability for what someone else posts on a site. The prostitutes are not going to go away. They will just go to Facebook, Twitter and the other social media sites and more carefully word their posts. They will be on the dating sites like “Meetme”.
The new law is going to really take away a major law enforcement tool. Grady Judd is going to lose his ability to run sex stings by having his undercover detectives post on the sites. The law in one respect is good but in another bad. Go online today and type in “Ft. Myers Escorts”. Make a list of the sites you see. I am willing to bet than in ninety days, 90% of them will be out of business. This is going to push the “working girls” back into the bars and on the streets. The law was widely supported because it takes a bite out of the human trafficking business. I have advocated for years that a better solution would be to legalize and regulate prostitution in Florida. They don’t call it the oldest profession for nothing