Monday, April 11, 2022 marks four years since Congress passed FOSTA/SESTA into law, a disastrous bill which expanded criminal and civil liability for internet platforms containing information about the sex trade.
The consequences of FOSTA/SESTA were swift for people who trade sex, including survivors of violence, people experiencing exploitation and trafficking, caregivers and parents, people with disabilities, and the many sex workers who were struggling to get by.
The damage done by SESTA/FOSTA started even before its passage, since websites began to shut down as the bill’s support in Congress mounted. Between March 27 when Congress voted to pass the bill and its signature into law on April 11, sex workers lost multiple avenues for income and harm reduction, including advertising sites, reddit threads where they exchanged safety information, dating sites, and a website used to both screen clients and build community. Community based organizations scrambled to serve the surging need for support and became the only groups documenting the harms and consequences of SESTA/FOSTA.
This Monday, April 11, we are asking people to call their Representatives and Senators to support theSAFE SEX Workers Study Act (HR 6928 and SB 3758), a bill which asks the government to research and fully understand what happens when people who trade sex lose access to the internet. Only through understanding the impacts of policy, can we begin to make better policy that does not treat marginalized communities as collateral damage.
It is due time for due diligence.
To participate in the call-in day, on Monday, April 11, dial 202-972-4259 or visit this site.Once connected, it’ll ask for your zip code and share a script to read encouraging your representatives to support the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act. That’s all!
Thank you for your support for the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act!Read more about the bill here.
Mariah Grant, MA she/her/ella Director of Research and Advocacy Sex Workers Project Urban Justice Center.