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One cop can shut down a site’s ability to do business simply because it engages in speech he doesn’t like, even if that speech is legally protected. What constitutes “brand-damaging” is a matter of opinion.
Visa and Master Card are fine with doing business with the KKK, for example. Sex workers shouldn’t be the only ones who are concerned about this, even if few people seem to be concerned about sex workers.
American Express had already pulled out earlier in the year.
Although the suit was unsuccessful, the site ultimately submitted to the pressure, voluntarily shutting down its erotic services section in 2010.
The last several years have been good to anti-sex work interests, who have successfully reframed their crusade from being against prostitution to being against “sexual slavery.” The political climate has shifted from the now unpopular War on Drugs to the War on Sex Trafficking, with harsh laws such as C-36 in Canada and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in the United States funding increased policing in the name of “protecting children” and “ending exploitation.” These laws and their advocates conflate consensual sex work with human trafficking, and in practice mainly target adult sex workers and their clients, making it harder for them to do business and stay safe.
He and his department, working closely with anti-sex work organizations such as Demand Abolition, have spearheaded initiatives such as the National Day of Johns Arrests, making hundreds of prostitution-related arrests over a period of years.
In 2009, Dart sued Craigslist in an effort to have that site remove its adult ads.