Yesterday a member of our community was arrested and charged with several counts of felony sex trafficking. The troopers allege that she provided online marketing for “women in the commercial sex trafficking trade,” purposely conflating adult consensual activity with sex trafficking.
Community United for Safety and Protection supports people in the sex trade’s rights to be in association with each other – which is what she’s being charged with. Being in association often brings a higher level of safety for people involved in the sex trade and should not be a criminal act (it’s currently 2nd and 3rd degree sex trafficking), nor should it be confused with kidnapping children and forcing them into sexual bondage.
Since Alaska’s sex trafficking law was passed in 2012 it has been used systematically in lieu of prostitution laws.
“Being charged with prostitution or sex trafficking comes with a significant amount of negative social stigma and the media ought to have refrained from using the names of anyone who is charged under these statutes. They are innocent until proven guilty and they should not name because they risk becoming targets to be tried in the court of public opinion and face lifelong discrimination.” Maxine of the Erotic Service Provider’s Legal Education and Research Project.
“The laws were put in place to protect a certain group, they were not meant to be used the way that they are. I would like to see that changed. I have a hard time charging these people with felonies and having that be a part of their record. A felony is a huge issue,” said Nurse Francine, an ally.
“This is not a case of bondage or forced labor. What happened to free agency in our society?” said Kat McElroy, a founding member of CUSP.