Latest Linkwrap on FOSTA’s Aftermath
Now that FOSTA/SESTA has been voted into law, I’ve literally seen my advertising platforms disappear before my eyes. Now, I’m forced to maintain an Internet presence mainly through Twitter and Instagram, which are inconsistent in their attitude towards sex workers, often shadow banning or outright closing our accounts without warning. In this precarious landscape, one has to always walk the line between enticement and discretion, and I’ve been the pool of my new clients both drop in quantity and lower in quantity.
The greatest thing about the ‘Adult Gigs’ section of Craigslist was the most obvious thing and the thing that most people missed – sex workers had achieved visibility on a website that was supposed to be for everything and everyone, not just for sex workers. …
Am I upset that the effects of FOSTA/SESTA are supposedly forcing some sex workers back on the stroll? Sure I am, but I’m most upset that we have been erased from the common internet and quarantined to sex worker-only sites.
Meghan Peterson, “Global Implications Of FOSTA“
The anti-trafficking complex is a multibillion dollar industry that uses fundamentally imperialistic narratives to advance its cause. Milivojevic et al. have identified three pillars on which the anti-trafficking industrial complex is based: sex trafficking as a moral crusade against women’s sexuality, anti-migrant narratives that portray traffickers as non-white foreigners intent on harming the West through “invasive” immigration, and fear of organized sex trafficking and crime networks prompted by media. These narratives are additionally often racialized to present women who are trafficked as the migrant “Other” who are stripped of their agency and must be saved. This messaging relies on mythologies surrounding sex work to perpetuate an agenda that allows organizations to receive funding to combat the “evils” of sex trafficking….
The anti-trafficking industrial complex, which includes non-governmental organizations and legislative bodies, actively harms sex workers by promoting moralistic agendas, furthering carceral feminism, and diverting funding from workers who could benefit from social services rather than rescue efforts.
- 60% of sex workers said “they’ve had to take on less safe clients, to make ends meet.”
- “28% drop in screening. 92% of sex workers screened before FOSTA; that dropped to 63%.
Lura Chamberlain, FOSTA: A Hostile Law with a Human Cost, 87 Fordham L. Rev. 2171 (2019)
From the abstract:
This Note explores FOSTA’s effects on consensual sex workers in the United States from two angles. First, it analyzes how FOSTA’s chill on speech that advocates for sex workers’ health, safety, and right to work in their industry contributes to the law’s unconstitutional overbreadth. Second, it compares FOSTA’s practical effects that are in line with its stated goals with the harmful consequences the law has inflicted upon the sex work community and beyond. While this Note proposes amended language to improve FOSTA, it ultimately advocates for FOSTA’s repeal and suggests that if sex work were decriminalized and more pragmatic legislation were implemented to better inculpate traffickers, mitigate harm to trafficking survivors, and reduce future victimization, FOSTA’s stated goals could be realized.
Some selected excerpts:
the combination of overbroad and undefined language, strict penalties, and the rescission of third-party immunity may force UISPs to overmoderate user speech and proscribe protected material out of a fear that more selective UISP efforts will leave them vulnerable to prosecution. Further, FOSTA includes no safe harbor provision allowing UISPs to cure violations before liability sets in. UISPs, therefore, have three choices: check each piece of user content with human eyes prior to posting, which requires significant resources; enlist technological efforts to moderate content, like “machine-learning algorithms to filter and block anything that relates to sex, including activities that have nothing to do with sex trafficking”; or steer clear of all such topics entirely. The latter option is the least resource-intensive and the most likely to effectively preclude liability. For UISPs like RateThatRescue.org, Craigslist, or any number of other websites that intentionally wish to host dialogue about sex work, this amounts to a categorical ban on such speech. This substantial proscription of protected speech is precisely the kind of chill the First Amendment precludes….
The government’s stated goal in implementing FOSTA is stopping online sex trafficking; FOSTA’s language suggests that it will impose liability on UISPs for much more activity than hosting sex trafficking advertisements….
FOSTA confines commercial sex to its most dangerous model….
FOSTA makes it more dangerous to be a UISP operator. It makes it more dangerous to be a sex worker. It may even make it more dangerous to be a trafficked person. But it does not, in any discernable way, increase the risk involved in being a sex trafficker.
The Childsafe.AI study found that Backpage’s closure dealt a huge blow to the illicit world of online prostitution. Demand for prostitutes dropped 67 percent and search volume plunged 90 percent immediately after the site went offline, the report showed.
While many sex classified websites, mostly run by small-time operators, have tried to fill the gap left by Backpage’s demise, they each only draw about 5-8 percent of the unique visitors Backpage was earning at its height in 2016, Spectre said….
Spectre said the unreliability of classified ad websites has shown a shift toward hobby boards, where clients of prostitutes share graphic reviews of women, and sugar daddy pages attempt to emulate dating sites.Anaheim Police Sergeant Juan Reveles of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force in Southern California said Backpage’s closure represented a double-edged sword for law enforcement. He said the scattershot market of shadowy web sites, often incorporated overseas, that replaced it are often harder to track.
“If we spend the time and effort to shut down one website, another one will pop up, and our resources are finite,” Reveles said.
as a headstrong and already defiantly sexual 17 years old, I wouldn’t have listened to any do-gooder who tried to convince me to stop doing sex work because it was “wrong” or because I was being “abused”—even if I was. In that sense, a law like FOSTA was always doomed to fail. Teenagers may be impetuous and overconfident, but they will always find a way to get around the restrictions that adults seek to place on their sexuality….
There are ways of supporting young people who find themselves drawn towards sex work, but it is not through the kind of “help” that FOSTA provides, which has only resulted in censorship of the kind of information that those young people would find most helpful….
The kind of communities that we need are the kind of communities that we had before FOSTA came along, and FOSTA has destroyed them. If FOSTA was meant to save people like me from abuse, it has accomplished exactly the opposite of what it set out to do. But we haven’t yet seen the full extent of its failure. I fear for young people who find themselves as I was—curious, horny, rebellious, and broke—before FOSTA became law.
More SESTA/FOSTA-Related Posts:
* Section 230 Doesn’t End Lawsuit Claiming Facebook Facilitated Sex Trafficking–Doe v. Facebook
* New Essay: The Complicated Story of FOSTA and Section 230
* Who Benefited from FOSTA? (Spoiler: Probably No One)
* FOSTA’s Political Curse
* FOSTA Doesn’t Help Pro Se Litigant’s Defamation Claim Against Facebook
* Constitutional Challenge to FOSTA Dismissed for Lack of Standing (Guest Blog Post)
* An Update on the Constitutional Court Challenge to FOSTA–Woodhull Freedom v. US (Guest Blog Post)
* Indianapolis Police Have Been “Blinded Lately Because They Shut Backpage Down”
* Constitutional Challenge Against FOSTA Filed–Woodhull v. US (Guest Blog Post)
* Catching Up on FOSTA Since Its Enactment (A Linkwrap)
* More Aftermath from the ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’
* ‘Worst of Both Worlds’ FOSTA Signed Into Law, Completing Section 230’s Evisceration
* Backpage Loses Another Section 230 Motion (Again Without SESTA/FOSTA)–Florida Abolitionists v. Backpage
* District Court Ruling Highlights Congress’ Hastiness To Pass ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’– Doe 1 v. Backpage
* More on the Unconstitutional Retroactivity of ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’ (Guest Blog Post)
* Senate Passes ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’ (Linkwrap)
* Why FOSTA’s Restriction on Prostitution Promotion Violates the First Amendment (Guest Blog Post)
* SESTA’s Sponsors Still Don’t Understand Section 230 (As They Are About to Eviscerate It)
* Can the ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’ Be Salvaged? Perhaps…and You Can Help (URGENT CALL TO ACTION)
* Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)
* What’s New With SESTA/FOSTA (January 17, 2018 edition)
* New House Bill (Substitute FOSTA) Has More Promising Approach to Regulating Online Sex Trafficking
* My testimony at the House Energy & Commerce Committee: Balancing Section 230 and Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives
* How SESTA Undermines Section 230’s Good Samaritan Provisions
* Manager’s Amendment for SESTA Slightly Improves a Still-Terrible Bill
* Another Human Trafficking Expert Raises Concerns About SESTA (Guest Blog Post)
* Another SESTA Linkwrap (Week of October 30)
* Recent SESTA Developments (A Linkwrap)
* Section 230’s Applicability to ‘Inconsistent’ State Laws (Guest Blog Post)
* An Overview of Congress’ Pending Legislation on Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* The DOJ’s Busts of MyRedbook & Rentboy Show How Backpage Might Be Prosecuted (Guest Blog Post)
* Problems With SESTA’s Retroactivity Provision (Guest Blog Post)
* My Senate Testimony on SESTA + SESTA Hearing Linkwrap
* Debunking Some Myths About Section 230 and Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* Congress Is About To Ruin Its Online Free Speech Masterpiece (Cross-Post)
* Backpage Executives Must Face Money Laundering Charges Despite Section 230–People v. Ferrer
* How Section 230 Helps Sex Trafficking Victims (and SESTA Would Hurt Them) (guest blog post)
* Sen. Portman Says SESTA Doesn’t Affect the Good Samaritan Defense. He’s Wrong
* Senate’s “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017”–and Section 230’s Imminent Evisceration
* The “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” Bill Would Be Bad News for Section 230
* WARNING: Draft “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act” Bill Poses Major Threat to Section 230
* The Implications of Excluding State Crimes from 47 U.S.C. § 230’s Immunity