On April 11, 2018, President Trump signed into law FOSTA/SESTA, an “anti-trafficking” legislation that targets online platforms that people in the sex trade use to connect with and screen their potential clients. Since the passage of FOSTA/SESTA, many such online platforms have either shut down completely or changed rules to push out people who have previously depended on them for their livelihood.
Almost immediately, we began hearing from members of our community who are facing extremely difficult choices, as much of their livelihood vanished overnight. People of color, trans women, immigrants, and people living in poverty are most affected. Facing imminent poverty and homelessness, some are taking on more risks than they would otherwise and/or turning to the street. Those of us who have experienced horrible abuses while living or working on the street in the past are contemplating suicide out of desperation. An influx of individuals who have previously worked online onto the street will undoubtedly also impact those who have been on the street already with additional competition and increased police attention.
Would-be pimps are contacting many of our community members, luring them with an offer to connect them to clients for a cut. Some people in our community have told us that they have stopped screening clients because they can no longer afford to turn down any opportunity to get cash, or they were forced to compromise their safety and boundaries.
While it may be well-intentioned, FOSTA/SESTA is a badly structured law that punishes the vulnerable population while giving more power to pimps and clients.
Please contact us if you are in Seattle/King County area and want to join us as we figure out how to protect members of our community. To find out more about FOSTA/SESTA, please see the following websites:
- Survivors Against SESTA
- SESTA is yet another bill which will harm sex workers by Suprihmbé
- If you care about sex trafficking, trust people in the sex trades–not celebrities by Alana Massey
- Trump just signed legislation that could be deadly for sex workers like me by Laura LeMoon
- Trump just signed SESTA/FOSTA, a law sex workers say will literally kill them by Samantha Cole
- SESTA is already having devastating impacts on sex workers–just like they predicted by Annamarya Scaccia
- FOSTA-SESTA’s real aim is to silence sex workers online by Daniel Cooper