Global Implications Of FOSTA by Meghan Peterson

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On April 11, 2018, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) were signed into law. FOSTA/SESTA outlined new provisions to amend the Communications Decency Act; importantly, they note that websites can be prosecuted if they engage “in the promotion or facilitation of prostitution” or “facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.” In the days following SESTA-FOSTA’s passage through Congress—before it had even been formally signed into law —sex workers tangibly felt its effect. While supporters of the law claimed to target sex traffickers, its text makes no effort to differentiate trafficking from consensual sex work. The passage of FOSTA illuminated how little congressional leaders care about, or are willing to listen to, the very same people they purport to want to save. In response to this legislation, sex workers have denounced the passage of FOSTA as it pushed sex work underground in a way that separates sex workers from tools used to maintain screening and safety.

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