In March 2018 the US House of Representatives passed FOSTA (‘Allow States and Victims To Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act’) and the US Senate passed SESTA (‘Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act’). The stated intent of these bills is to stop sex trafficking, however the bills create an exemption to Section 230 of the US ‘Communications Decency Act (1996)’ that makes internet platforms and ISP’s responsible for users posting ads for sex work – this includes consensual sex work.
Companies and websites have reacted to these new laws by censoring or banning content and removing parts of their platforms. This has affected sex workers ability to advertise to clients, to engage in organising, and to exchange information (including important safety information).
These changes have had an impact not just in the US, but also across the world, due in large part to internet platforms and companies in the US being utilised worldwide, but also due to moves by other governments to comply with US laws and/or implement their own similar legislation.
Read sex workers writing on FOSTA/SESTA here:
‘SESTA: an attack on sex workers’ safety’, Overland, 24th April 2018
‘Sex Workers Are Not Collateral Damage: Kate D’Adamo on FOSTA and SESTA’ on the US impact of FOSTA/SESTA’, Tits & Sass, 6th March 2018
Media coverage on FOSTA/SESTA here:
‘Sex Workers are Protesting FOSTA/SESTA Across the Country’, VICE, 5th June 2018
‘A new law intended to curb sex trafficking threatens the future of the internet as we know it’, Vox, 18th April 2018
Want to know more?
Access the sex worker resource ‘FOSTA/SESTA for Sex Workers – Updated’ here