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New Legislation Forces Sex Workers Back to Streets and Strips Away Internet Freedoms in One Swoop

April 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Ricky Riley, Independent Media Institute

The SESTA-forced end of a Craigslist personal ads era means big problems for sex workers.


In our society, sex work isn’t considered “real work.” With the risks of physical harm and constant denigration from family, friends and critics, sex workers are rarely treated with dignity and respect and are often arrested because of unfair laws.

They have come under attack in recent months after the passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in the Senate, and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) in the House. A combination of both laws passed in the Senate on March 20 by a vote of 97-2. Senator Rob Portman introduced SESTA in the Senate and the House’s FOSTA bill passed in February. The bill was signed into law Wednesday, April 11 by President Donald Trump. Now, SESTA-FOSTA, or commonly called FOSTA, gives state attorney generals the ability to bring civil suits against violators of federal prostitution laws. Engadget reports SESTA-FOSTA could take anywhere from 90 days to until 2019 to take effect after the signing.

These bills intended to stop digital platforms from facilitating human trafficking will inadvertently make the lives of sex workers who practice consensual sex work much more difficult.

Experts from various organizations and on a variety of platforms have criticized these bills because online sites like RentBoy, where workers conduct business typically, will be penalized for ads that may be misconstrued as human trafficking advertisements. Platform owners could be prosecuted under the new law even if they were unaware of users promoting sex trafficking.

Recently, FBI and a litany of other law enforcement agencies seized sex marketplace website Backpage.com on undisclosed grounds, reports Reuters. Some have come to believe that the site was seized after a prior 2017 lawsuit holding Backpage responsible for facilitating human trafficking of three young women and other accusations revolving around human trafficking and cases of pimping.

Serving as a hub for LGBT sex workers, RentBoy had a reputation as a positive and charitable organization in the community prior to coming under attack in 2015 …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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