If SESTA becomes law, victims of human trafficking will be able to sue the websites their abusers may have used to communicate with one another. The implications reach beyond justice for survivors, however, as consensual sex workers may be charged with facilitating prostitution if they use an online forum to exchange safety information such as bad date lists. The threat of prosecution has already led such forums to simply shut down rather than face potential legal liability. When sex workers don’t have access to digital resources – such as Craigslist, Backpage, Rentboy or MyRedBook – they often engage in high-risker street work.

“I fear this legislation will not stop human trafficking,” says Nat Paul, a new appointee to the U.S. Advisory Council on Trafficking. Paul is a former sex worker and trafficking survivor, which she emphasizes are two different things. Like any other kind of abuse, trafficking thrives when victims can be isolated. Without free Internet forums, sex workers of all kinds will lose access to resources that can help them to both survive and thrive.

 

Read the full article:
How a New Senate Bill will Screw over Sex Workers by Tina Horn
Rolling Stone – March 23, 2018
Photo credit Andreas Arnold/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images