Well fuck I didn't look into this sooner and now it's already passed. Though I don't know, even if nothing else was going on and we'd been wholly informed on this shit bill weeks in advance, if we could have stopped it. Because even most feminists don't listen to sex workers, and certainly the liberal establishment doesn't.
The so-called "Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA)" was supported by rich white women like Amy Schumer despite the fact that both sex workers and advocated for actually human trafficking victims spoke out against it. FOSTA was basically an identical bill but SESTA was ultimately what Congress settled on. Advocates for a free and open Internet also spoke out against it, but I'm more interested in human lives at risk right now.
I was a #sexworker organizer for years in NYC. #FOSTA would undermine almost every single thing I would tell people for how to stay alive. ALL screening, ALL peer references, ALL bad date lists I could send. #SurvivorsAgainstFOSTA— Kate (@KateDAdamo) February 26, 2018
What SESTA does is make it easier to sue sites like Backpage because they “knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking.” The problem is that these sites are actually used by willing and consenting sex workers in order to conduct their business safely. This is where sex workers share their "bad date lists" that name clients who are abusive or downright rapists. This is where they conduct peer references and all kinds of client screening. Now these sites are shutting down and sex workers are left without this vital form of protection.
Now, if they want to survive, sex workers are being forced to solicit clients back out on the streets where they're vulnerable to violence and know nothing about the people they're soliciting. This is how sex workers end up being beaten, raped, and/or murdered. I have already seen reports from actual sex workers about being raped because they can't use Backpage anymore. Reports of similar sites and communities being shut down are coming out rapidly, and it's only been a week since this bill was passed.
This is why people who aren't sex workers should fucking just stop trying to "help." Every bill they pass that they think is somehow going to help sex trafficking victims just ends up hurting all sex workers and getting them killed. But do they care? Or does it not matter because they're sex workers? Maybe Amy Schumer thinks they're better off dead.
What also pisses me off is that I only heard about this a few days before it passed, and with everything else on my plate - I mean, I probably shouldn't be making excuses. But either way I couldn't have mobilized anyone in the time between hearing it was a thing and its passing.
We feminists need to do better for sex workers. No more legislation driven by the desire to stop full service sex work, as though that's possible or a good thing. The only acceptable legislation is full legalization of all consensual sex work, end of story. And if you're supporting a bill without even consulting actual sex workers on it, FUCK YOU.