To that end, sex work websites feature guides to self-censoring, the kind of thing you'd expect belongs more in Weimar-era Berlin than coming out of modern-day San Francisco. They're facing all this sudden and casually disastrous censorship as a threat to their safety and livelihoods, and are well aware that few are willing or brave enough to fight for their free speech and human rights. Now that's a misguided business plan guaranteed to create lasting cultural harm. If you thought all that was bad enough, just you wait.
Even sex writers such as myself know this; any of us who've tried to make a living off anything relating to sex online has a list of products, services, banks and payment processors, social networks, companies, and business tools that everyone else takes for granted — that we are expressly prohibited from using. FOSTA-SESTA is making us disappear before your very eyes — and it will affect you, too.
If only the politicians who voted this Morality in Media (NCOSE) mess into law had fact-checked it with Freedom Network USA, "the largest coalition of experts and advocates providing direct services to to survivors of human trafficking in the U.Writer Ben Udashen points out, "The level of sex worker whose lives will be harmed by SESTA are not at the same level of fame and notoriety as Stormy Daniels""Daniels won't be caught up in a sting sending her to jail because she had to work as a streetwalker to help pay her rent and feed her children.Daniels won't have to carry a weapon to defend herself when she meets with a new client."Most importantly, Daniels's children won't be woken up to the news that their mother didn't come home last night because she was murdered by a serial killer, a class of criminal who have always targeted sex workers from Jack the Ripper to the Green River Killer.S." Freedom Network unequivocally states that protecting the rights of sex workers, and not conflating them with trafficking victims, is critical to the prevention of trafficking.They also have the data to back up the fact that "more people are trafficked into labor sectors than into commercial sex."It's already an unmitigated disaster for free speech in America. The Technology and Marketing Law Blog wrote that there's no mistaking that FOSTA-SESTA violates the First Amendment; it plainly stated that "this statute implicates constitutionally protected speech."It's unconstitutional, but the damage is already being done.One week ago, the worst possible legislation curtailing free speech online passed and sex censorship bill FOSTA-SESTA is on its way to be signed into law by Trump.Hours after the announcement, everything from the mere discussion of sex work to client screening and safe advertising networks began getting systematically erased from the open internet.Despite the fact that FOSTA-SESTA isn't even law yet -- it could take anywhere from 90 days to until 2019 to take effect -- online companies, always dangerously prudish with their algorithms, or hypocritical with their free speech rhetoric, appear to be in a rush to proverbially herd sex workers (and all us people who talk about sex for a living) out of the airlock into places where no one can hear us scream.Websites are removing content and communities wholesale, the result of FOSTA-SESTA making safer working conditions more difficult by criminalizing digital conversations about sex work, screening tools and discussions about how to be safe doing it. As some may recall, Craigslist already voluntary closed its Erotic Services section in 2010 under pressure from conservative groups.It has been a speech issue for a long time, one most people have turned away from as Instagram censors more nipples, as Pay Pal freezes and shutters the accounts of sex bloggers and book authors, Tumblr deep-sixes erotic artists, and more. Under FOSTA-SESTA, we'd most likely have no Stormy Daniels.That Stormy Daniels is making headlines while the absolute worst is happening to sex workers online is not lost on anyone."In a titillating cross-section of lawmaking and scandal," wrote sex worker Morgan Claire-Sirene, "we have on one side Stormy Daniels suing 45 for unlawful payoffs and calling him to account publicly for his associates' threats against her, and on the other side, legislation that has already silenced common sex workers, with the overlaying intersections of race and class; good whores and bad whores; victims and perpetrators; and misinformation all around."Daniels is a perfect lens with which to view the exact way FOSTA-SESTA harms one of America's largest at-risk populations.