Great big news in SESTA's challenges and impact:
This last week saw the release a new study from the Hacking/Hustling folks release their report Erased: The Impact of FOSTA/SESTA 2020. This participatory action research used surveys of online workers and predominantly street-based workers to find out about how folks are impacted by and coping with the law. The report ends with a sentiment we are all too familiar with:
We are living in a society that is systematically silencing marginalized voices. Legislation like FOSTA-SESTA encourages platforms to contribute to this silencing through erasing sex worker existence from the Internet.
Additionally, the litigation challenge to FOSTA/SESTA won an intermediary victory [EFF], which said that some of the plaintiffs do have standing to move forward on the case. Previously, a judge had thrown out the case, saying that the named plaintiffs' concerns that they were impacted by the law were unreasonable, but a judge said that two of the plaintiffs had successfully made the case to sue.
This does not mean that the case is over by any stretch, but that it can now move forward to question whether or not the law is constitutional, and whether it should be struck down.
Anti-Trafficking Awareness Month
While January is usually a slog of poorly thought out "awareness campaigns" about the word – but not the real issue of – trafficking, OpenDemocracy has been putting out a month's worth of quality content. Read up on:
- The slow slog to decriminalized sex work in Louisiana: The path to decriminalized sex work in Louisiana leads through racism, poverty, homophobia, and predatory policing, from New Orleans-baed Women with a Vision.
- Getting anti-trafficking advocates on board with decriminalized sex work: Sex workers rights’ advocates and anti-trafficking professionals have more in common than they think.
- Sex work, stigma, and the challenge of harm reduction in Denmark: Harm reduction does not exist in a vacuum.
- The false feminism of criminalizing sex workers’ clients: Feminist arguments against sex work are as influential as they are dangerous.
And lots more incredible pieces from people working in different areas of the field.
The Golden State Looks Promising
Last year's passage of AB 5, a law which expanded protections for those working in the gig economy, proves a promising opportunity for dancers [The Intercept] in California who have long-faced challenges in the workplace by being designated independent contractors.
On the heels of Audia Jones' recent announcement [The Appeal] that she supports decriminalization [Slixa Blog], LA County DA candidate Rachel Rossi [The Appeal] looks to be the next candidate who has a finger on the pulse of sex workers' rights.
Mayo Pete provides more evidence that he's not going to be on the cutting edge of support for sex workers when he canceled a fundraiser at a gay nightclub [Washington Blade] in Providence, RI after finding out the club had a pole.
Big Tech Isn't Your Friend, Chapter 904
In the newest technology which may do more harm than good, Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology was revealed to have been used in public places [Daily Mail] around the UK. This technology links up scanned faces from these public locations with pictures of them online - which could spell disaster for sex workers [Slixa Blog] looking to keep their sex worker persona and their civilian lives separate.
Migrant Sex Workers Remain at Risk
Despite New Zealand's hailing as the only fully decriminalized country in the world, one group of sex workers in that country still remain criminalized: migrants. Immigration New Zealand seems to be ramping up their crack down on non-citizens [Stuff] coming into the country to work in the sex trade, with stops almost doubling from 2018 to 2019.
More representation is leading to more nuanced stories about sex workers. The Bay Area's KQED recently interviewed Dr. Connie Wun, a former sex worker [KQED] turned professor and founder of AAPI Women Lead. In fictionalized portrayals, Netflix's Jezebel is surprising many [LA Times] with its contextualized and thoughtful exploration of a day in the life of a sex worker.
How are we already three years into 2020? Ah well.
Back to the grind.
Feature image ©Joe Raedle for Getty