Dear Friends, In Spring 2018, Congress passed seemingly benign legislation, S.1693, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and H.R. 1865, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA.)
While it may have looked harmless, this legislation effectively limited online free speech protections by chipping away at Section 230. More specifically, SESTA/FOSTA’s passage has created limited options for workers’ advertising, forcing many back to street-based work, increasing the risk of police and client violence and negatively impacting sexual health.
Here are the basic facts: SESTA/FOSTA neither provides protections for survivors of human trafficking nor does it hold human traffickers accountable for trafficking. It only harms survivors and sex workers.
It’s time we hold lawmakers accountable for their misstep by demanding they repeal regressive, dangerous legislation.
In the digital age, online phone apps and other forums allowed sex workers to find and vet clients, and negotiate safer sex practices and other boundaries. With SESTA/FOSTA’s passage, sex workers are not able to acquire as many clients and are more at risk of getting attacked or worse by potential clients and police.
Sex workers our allies are organizing across the country to both decriminalize sex work and protect digital free speech — it’s time to restore rights across the board by repealing SESTA/FOSTA and ending the dangerous Section 230 roll-backs. Worker rights are human rights!
For Human Rights and Liberation,
RJ Thompson, Sex Workers Project and Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center
RJ Thompson, Esq.
Managing Director, Sex Workers Project
Project Director, Human Rights Project
Urban Justice Center
40 Rector Street, 9th Fl.
New York, NY 10006
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