Yes you heard it in the news the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act have been signed by the Donal Trump a few days ago. Lots of information online about it and lots of you are already freaking out. So let’s look at this law, what it’s suppose to do and what it doesn’t do.
“FOSTA-SESTA creates an exception to Section 230 that means website publishers would be responsible if third parties are found to be posting ads for prostitution — including consensual sex work — on their platforms”. The goal of this is suppose to create a safe harbor for unwilling sex workers. We’ll see later if this is really the case. Even before the law passed, some sites took immediate actions by removing their ads like Craigslist. Craigslist didn’t remove their personal ads because they were promoting ads for prostitution, even though they were, but because it was way too complicated to try to police them for absolutely zero benefit. And of course you all read the Backpage debacle seized by the government…
Backpage has been known for its sex workers ads and there’s been over the years many arrests related to these ads. Backpage was held responsible for its illegal content and ultimately a Senate investigation found Backpage to be complicit in obscuring ads for child trafficking. We all know the end of that story.
We can get into an argument whether or not this law will actually deliver on its promises. I personally believe it won’t. Illegal and non consensual workers will just become more visible and more vulnerable and nobody will give a shit because nobody will know about it.
So what about us legal consensual sex workers? Well it’s already started. If you work on a camsite, chances are this is the typical business targeted by this law. Should you worry? I’d say no. If you are working for a major player in the business, this law does absolutely nothing. Yes I said it, NOTHING. Why? Because there’s nothing illegal about being a camgirl to begin with. Does it mean that there’s no unwilling participants? I’m sure there is but I’m also sure sites do their due diligence to remove their sites of that type of activity and if they didn’t, that law is simply pushing them to do so. If you are on Streamate, you already saw that the site took action, updating its terms and conditions and you now have to acknowledge that you are not “forced or coerced to act as a performer on this website.”. Is it enough? Accordingly to the law it is. That’s why I said earlier that it’s doing absolutely nothing. We can imagine that if you are forced you are still gonna check that box that says you aren’t. Duh!
What’s next? The sites will probably be more careful about what’s going on in chat rooms more than they already do. The classic personal info exchange to do a skype show might be very tricky. If you’re caught, that won’t be a few days suspension but most likely termination of your account.
I don’t think this law will have much of an impact on legitimate businesses. The ones that do shady and/or illegal business might be impacted for sure. I’m not arguing whether prostitution should be legal or not, that’s a different debate…