Sex workers have threatened to expose members of Congress for passing the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which they claim has destabilized and demoralized individuals who work in the the sex trade.
Rumors of a Google Doc aimed at outing certain politicians who solicit sex services are circulating social media.
“Hey politicians, watch out…” a New York City sex worker tweeted last week.
— astrid’s bday 4/22🎈 (@astridstoneNYC) March 27, 2018
“Just sitting here waiting for all those government officials to realize how hard they’ve made it for themselves to get no-strings-attached booty. Better start liking sex with your wives again,” tweeted another NYC sex worker.
Just sitting here waiting for all those government officials to realize how hard they’ve made it for themselves to get no-strings-attached booty. Better start liking sex with your wives again. #FUCKSESTA #FUCKFOSTA
— Nikki Irish: Boston 4/3-7 (@Nikki_Irish) March 23, 2018
Cyndee Clay, director of sex workers advocacy group HIPS, said that sex workers are “scared” about their futures now that platforms like Craigslist personals and certain Reddit pages have been taken down in response to FOSTA.
“People are scared, and they’re definitely experiencing shutdowns of platforms already, of ways that they’ve been able to advertise in the past, but also farther-reaching things,” Clay told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
“We’re seeing Reddit enforcing certain parts of their Terms of Service, and Skype is now no longer a way that people feel like they can screen clients or do cam work or online appointments. Online advertising and the ability to use the internet to work more safely has now been taken out from under people. So people are having a lot of confusion and concern about what’s next.”
Some sex workers have created their own social network such as Switter, but many worry language in the FOSTA bill could get platforms like that shut down too.
“Depending on how one reads the law (and, again, part of the problem is that SESTA/FOSTA’s drafting is terrible, with lots of vague terminology and little clarification), it’s possible that prosecutors could argue that Switter itself violates SESTA/FOSTA,” TechDirt reported Wednesday.
High-profile politicians in the past have been exposed soliciting prostitutes, including former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, former congressman and convicted pedophile Anthony Weiner, former congressman Barney Frank, and former Senator John Edwards.
Interestingly, all those individuals were Democrats.
Congress passed the SESTA/FOSTA bills last month, which still have yet to be signed into law by President Trump.