FOSTA: “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.”
It sounds great. No one likes sex trafficking (except the traffickers, and screw them). But if you dive in you’ll find a host of problems with this newly introduced bill — primarily, the fact that it targets sex workers.
As if sex workers don’t already have it hard enough, now our government wants to make it illegal to even talk about it.
FOSTA switches up Section 230 to make webhosts liable for acting “with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.” Further, FOSTA changes “shall apply regardless of whether the conduct alleged occurred … before, on, or after [its] date of enactment.”
And here’s some more exciting info:
“FOSTA attempts to make Internet sites such as pounced.org liable for the way users use the site in an effort to address sex trafficking and prostitution. FOSTA increases our liability significantly and chips away at one of the primary reasons we as a small organization can provide services to the community - the protection that had previously been offered to us by Section 230 of the Communications Decency act”
What kind of fresh hell is this?
This means the personals on Craiglist are gone. POOF. The dating site Furry, also gone. Pounced? History. Backpage (which is despicable, but still) may soon follow suit. And while it’s already illegal to solicit sex on Craigslist (and other similar sites), now even ads that don’t promise sex for money will be targeted.
FOSTA also makes it illegal for outreach organizations to provide any help or services to sex workers, including giving out condoms and Know Your Rights literature. Which is some Handmaid's Tale-level patriarchal bullshit, if you ask me.
It’s an act of censorship in protective sheep’s clothing, no doubt supported by a bunch of asshats (like probably Mike Pence.)
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Sex workers, the folks this impacts most, are rightfully enraged. Their literal livelihood is being threatened by something they don’t have power over.
Listen, I know that people have a lot of Very Strong Feelings about sex work. But I am going to request that for the purpose of this discussion you all chill the fuck out and let these folks live their lives. I’m going to ask that you make your voice heard — loud and clear — by signing the petition to repeal this misapplied, misogynistic, bullshit bill.
And if you have an issue with consenting adults "selling their bodies," take a good long look at the carpal tunnel medication you take from typing so much and tell me you haven't been selling your body for a living too. Sex work is work — some of the oldest work in the world, and people who do it shouldn't have to worry about getting arrested for trying to pay their rent.
FOSTA isn't actually about making it harder to engage in sex trafficking — it's about making it easier to target and punish sex workers. We have enough of that already.