How FOSTA-SESTA Legislation Is Wreaking Havoc On The Lives Of Sex Workers

Ever since President Donald Trump signed bipartisan bills Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) into law this past April, panic has set in among the sex work community. Often lumped together as FOSTA-SESTA, this legislation was introduced to Congress with an intent to end human trafficking. However, it has also inadvertently targeted consensual sex workers, forcing many to resort to other more dangerous practices.

SESTA-FOSTA challenges section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act of 1996, which states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Therefore, websites like Facebook, Amazon, Craigslist, Reddit and YouTube were legally protected, should a user post unsavory or offensive content on their own accord.That was before FBI and other federal agencies raided the home of former Backpage.com owner Michael Lacey. Known for its adult personal ads, the controversial website was shut down and seized by the FBI, once allegations related to child sex trafficking were raised.

Now under SESTA-FOSTA, any site believed to be hosting ads related to human trafficking is at risk of prosecution, even if they are unaware that some of their users are promoting trafficking. Because lawmakers’ stance on sex work seems to exclude the possibility of consensual sex work, SESTA-FOSTA appears to blur the line between consensual sex worker and actual human trafficking. Some sites preemptively removed its adult content earlier this year, including subreddits containing sexual content. Likewise, sex-work directories, like CityVibe and NightShift, have also been shut down. According to a report from Engadget, Google has even started to purge the Drive accounts of cam performers, who sell clips and videos to clients.

Blavity spoke with Tamika Spellman, policy and advocacy associate for Helping Individual People Survive (HIPS). A Black, trans woman and sex worker, Spellman knows firsthand how society looks down on those who engage in this work.

For 25 years, HIPS has provided laundry facilities, a syringe exchange, meals and other services to anyone in need. A safe haven offering assistance to full-service workers, the organization has recently experienced a surge in the sex workers they service because of SESTA- FOSTA. Spellman’s position at HIPS often involves caring for marginalized individuals while advocating for laws that better protect those working in the sex industry.

“Because of this crazy f**king law, which was passed relatively easily, life has become extremely hard,” Spellman said.

Read more at Blavity. 

Xenophobia in the USA

I really don’t know how to start this blog entry off but I will try my best. I think that this week brings up some interesting issues we have in this country about minorities and fear. After major events in the USA, the powers that be made life harder for people who were not White people. In the early days of English colonization, Native Americans were the biggest obstacle and they were “dealt” with. After Nat’s Turner’s Rebellion, African Americans were treated as criminals before due process. Whites had to supervise gatherings, Black people could not carry guns or own dogs in some areas, and could not read or write. During the surge of immigration during the late 1870s, Irish, Chinese, and many other people from the east were not welcomed and discriminated against. After the Civil War, African Americans and Native Americans were targeted again I.e KKK and Indian Wars. In the 1940s, the Japanese and communists were attacked after Pearl Harbor. In the 1960s, Hippies, African Americans, feminists and liberals were attacked. In the 1980s, Gays were attacked and suspected of having Aids. Now, Muslims are being attacked after 9-11.

In this country people of color or people that are just different are always targets. Our Media makes it convient to blame non-Whites for our poor security issues. However, in cases where are mutiple terror attacks carried out by White individuals such as Newtown, Columbine, Aurora and Eliot Rodgers’ rampage in San Diego, White people are not collectively punished. Things must change but they probably won’t.