In Australia the majority of our states and territories have either legalised or decriminalised sex work, but in the US prostitution is only legal in ONE of the 50 states. This has pushed the industry underground, and has had significant implications for sex workers’ livelihoods and general safety.

In April 2018 a bill was passed into law in the US known as FOSTA SESTA. The aim was to curb sex trafficking on online personals sites like Backpage- a popular site for posting ads, especially for sex work but also for sex trafficking. Previously Backpage and other websites could not be held responsible for sex trafficking content posted by their users, but now due to FOSTA SESTA – they can.

The law allows greater policing of these sites and opens them up to lawsuits from trafficking survivors.

However, language of the law is broad, penalising all websites that “promote or facilitate prostitution”. That means a lot of sex-related content and websites are disappearing and sex workers around the world using US-based sites are being cut off, including in Australia.

FOSTA SESTA has been harshly criticised by sex workers, credited with a spate of disappearances and violent incidents. A lot of people who used to be able to work online and able to screen clients for safety have been forced onto the streets to source work, making them more vulnerable to violence and abuse.

Read the full article:

Shutting down websites to curb sex trafficking has life threatening consequences for sex workers by Laura Murphy-Oats

Sept. 25th, 2018