When Congress Broke the Internet

Last Thursday (April 11) was one year since FOSTA was signed into law, doing all the damage everyone said it would.

And this important thread from @thotscholar talks about the current state of much sex worker activism and discussions:

In addition, the broader conversation about private internet companies trying to make their own decisions about content has led to a clamping down of numerous outlets. Most recently, Instagram has decided that content which is sexual but not explicit, considered borderline, is going to be downgraded in searches, but not removed. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, which owns Instagram, expressed a need to "reduce the reach" of this kind of content. (Remember when it turned out Facebook posts were used to incite a genocide in Myanmar? You know what is NOT a root cause of genocide? Tits.)

Other countries have also begun their attacks on websites for the sex trade, as a Finnish site was shut down following a warrant issued by law enforcement in Spain.

More Electeds Talk Decrim

Showing the importance of advocacy which targets every actor in systems, the District Attorney in Brooklyn (the head prosecutor) said he was in favor of decriminalization of prostitution last week. While he supports it, DA Gonzalez is not going to make any policy decisions until he does a deep-dive into the issue. It wouldn't be the first time DAs have taken a lead on an issue which is struggling to move through legislation. In 2016 the previous DA in Brooklyn significantly limited prosecuting possession of marijuana, and back when Rep. Kathleen Rice was the DA in Nassau County (Long Island), she said she wouldn't accept condoms as evidence of prostitution charges.

TheRoot Has More Decrim Convos With Politicians

Cory Booker wants to focus on trafficking and talks decrim at 20:24. Stick around for his talk on reparations at 22:28. (Last week Booker also introduced a bill in the Senate to create an exploratory committee to discuss reparations. The bill is a companion to one already in the House, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee because #trustblackwomen to do it first.)

Get Involved

Sex workers and allies in Hunts Point - meet your neighbors and talk decrim!

Bay Area sex workers! Two amazing chances to get involved and connect this week (and Cheers to BAWS!):

And for those in New Hampshire/Vermont, do not miss Deon Haywood of Women with a Vision at Dartmouth this Friday where she'll be sharing “30 Years at the Intersections: Justice, Action, and Black Feminist Struggle."

And, Around the Rest of the World

At the ReConference (#recon2019) that just wrapped held in Nepal, sex worker collectives spoke about how they pushed back on the 2018 Indian Anti-Trafficking Law, challenging the ways in which it would harm all people who trade sex.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Reform, an alliance of 28 organizations, has released a report titled The Perils of "Protection," which details sex workers' experiences with law enforcement since the passage of Canada's End Demand-style law.

The anti-migrant sentiment which has been a fog around much of the Brexit debates has led to an increase in targeting and harassment of migrant sex workers, says the English Collective of Prostitutes.

Queensland-based sex worker rights group Decrim Qld has posted its contestants for the #PetsforDecrim competition. (Retweeted photo below does not mean candidate endorsement.)

Books Behind Bars

While conditions for incarcerated folks is a wide-ranging issue, the topic of access to books has become prominent in the last month:

Washington State's Department of Corrections banned giving donated books to people who are incarcerated, calling them "contraband," and then reversed its decision because of the very predictable and logical outrage.

The ACLU has sent a letter inquiring about Georgia's new policy to prohibit books and magazines provided by visitors.

Other states, such as Oklahoma, offer access to libraries, but often struggle to meet the need because of financial constraints. But access is important, as Catherine Azevado, who is currently held in one of Oklahoma's facilities reminds us, “reading takes you away. It puts you on a different path where you don’t want to think about the negative things in life and kind of get lost in the stories."

Want to support folks who are currently incarcerated? Send a book or become a pen pal! Swop Behind Bars supports incarcerated sex workers, Black and Pink supports LGBTQ family who are currently inside, and Survived and Punished has resources, advocacy tools and so much more to support survivors of violence who are currently incarcerated.

Back to the grind.


Read more Kate's Account columns here.