Potential interventions for sex buyers include a 10-week class held in Seattle and around King County called "Stopping Sexual Exploitation: A Program for Men," which Beiser said is run by former sex workers.The class, which costs per session, offers facilitated conversations about how the sex trade impacts victims and survivors, as well as how it affects sex buyers themselves. If anything, it's going to stop people from responding to ads they think are fake." In reality, House said, the online sex trade has actually made the job safer, because connecting with potential buyers beforehand allows both the sex worker and the client to set boundaries and expectations.
"A better way forward would be for more open dialogue as a society about the harm of sexual exploitation in these situations." Several sex workers, both those who had been trafficked and those who entered sex work voluntarily, told me they had reservations about the SAS program. House is equally dubious about the prospect of using text messages written by real human volunteers to target current sex workers, and she disputes the idea that most sex workers are victims at all. Decriminalization would remove laws that penalize sex work while keeping in place laws that penalize human trafficking, violence, and criminal exploitation.
Briq House, a Seattle-based sex worker and the communications director for the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), a national group that advocates for sex workers' rights, laughed when I asked if she thought it would work. Decriminalization could also mean the release of people who are currently imprisoned for sex work.
Le Moon was trafficked herself as a youth, by a pimp in New York, and she said the experience was traumatic and plagued with violence and rape. In November, David Delay, a 51-year-old Seattle man, was convicted of 17 felonies for luring more than a dozen youth and young women into sex work.
Prosecutors charged that Delay posed as a filmmaker working on a documentary about sex trafficking, and he recruited Marysa Comer, a 22-year-old North Carolina woman, to help him lure other victims using social media.
Later, she got back into sex work, but this time she did it on her own terms.