Sign the petition: Protect workers and free speech. Repeal SESTA/FOSTA.
In Spring 2018, both houses of Congress passed seemingly benign legislation, S.1693 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and H.R. 1865 Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA.) But it effectively limited online free speech protections, and made sex work more dangerous for workers by chipping away at Section 230, important online free speech regulation and creating limited options for workers advertising, forcing many back to street based work which has increased risk for police and client violence as well as negative sexual health impacts.
SESTA/FOSTA neither provides protections for survivors of human trafficking nor does it hold human traffickers accountable for trafficking.
In the digital age, online phone apps and other forums allowed sex workers to find and vet clients, and negotiate safer sex practices and other boundaries. . With SESTA/FOSTA’s passage, sex workers are not able to acquire as many clients and are more at risk of getting attacked or worse by potential clients and police.
The act limits Section 230 -- which was originally established to protect online platforms from liability over users’ type of free speech (ie sex work) -- inadvertently forcing platforms to ban sex workers or use of their apps for sex work (or anything that could be perceived as sex work). Congress has put sex workers -- many of whom are trans women of color -- and other vulnerable communities at risk, chilling our free speech and further infringing upon our human right to work.
As members of Congress, many of whom are presidential candidates, are confronted to explain their positions on decriminalizing sex work and protecting free speech, we must demand that they repeal harmful legislation like SESTA/FOSTA.
Sign the petition today to urge your lawmakers to repeal SESTA/FOSTA.
Best Practices Policy Project
Collective Action for Safe Spaces
No Justice No Pride
The Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center
The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center
From: [Your Name]
Protecting vulnerable constituents is extremely important to your role as a public servant. That is why I urge you to reconsider your position on SESTA/FOSTA and repeal this harmful legislation. Free speech and expression are the bedrocks to our democracy -- our communities cannot withstand the chilling effect of SESTA/FOSTA on online free speech, which instead disproportionately has harmed sex workers, many of whom are Black and brown community members and members of LGBTQ communities.