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  • If we work together we can get the criminal traffickers off our streets and off of

  • the internet.

  • On April 11th President Trump signed a piece of legislation

  • based off of a pair of bills.

  • One started in the Senate known as SESTA or

  • the "Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act."

  • The other started in the House called FOSTA or the

  • "Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act."

  • Who's gonna oppose something called the stop

  • enabling sex traffickers act, right? I mean there's you're not gonna make

  • friends with that.

  • Both bills sailed through Congress, but critics of the law

  • claim it will end up hurting the people it's supposed to protect.

  • FOSTA and SESTA are like an enormous

  • bully coming into our living room.

  • And not only that, it could end up changing

  • the Internet as we know it.

  • Since 1996, websites have enjoyed a protection built

  • into a communications law known as section 230.

  • It basically says that

  • websites can't be held liable for the content posted by users on the site.

  • FOSTA, which ended up being the final name of the law, creates an exception to

  • section 230 which would make websites responsible for knowingly facilitating

  • prostitution or sex trafficking on their site.

  • To understand why critics see this

  • as a problem think of it like a phone call.

  • If you plan something illegal

  • during a phone call, your phone carrier isn't held responsible for what you said

  • during that call.

  • They're just the service you used.

  • This is sort of how the

  • internet worked up until now, but under FOSTA phone carriers might start to

  • monitor your phone calls to ensure nothing illegal was going through,

  • to protect themselves from liability.

  • Of course, monitoring all of these phone

  • calls is expensive and illegal messages might slip through anyway.

  • So, phone carriers

  • might block certain numbers or do away with the phones altogether.

  • Monitoring and censoring would satisfy part of FOSTA. It would ensure that the

  • site isn't facilitating prostitution or sex trafficking.

  • Another option though is

  • to stop monitoring altogether.

  • That way a website could claim that they didn't

  • know about the illegal content on their site.

  • These outcomes aren't theoretical.

  • Websites are already reacting this way to FOSTA.

  • Ever since it passed the Senate

  • that's when website started freaking out about their terms of services and that's

  • when we saw Craigslist personals get shut down and Backpage get shut down.

  • Which I think on its own makes the point that this is really chilling.

  • Quite a bit of material that's well outside the range of what theoretically this law addresses

  • FOSTA was particularly aimed at Backpage.com, a website that has long

  • been known for its sex worker advertisements.

  • The thing is though FOSTA's stated purpose is to crack down on sex

  • trafficking - it's right there in the title, but it's sex workers that are

  • feeling the burden.

  • The main difference between sex trafficking and sex work is

  • that sex trafficking is the non-consensual, often underage,

  • trafficking of human beings and sex work is the consensual arrangement between

  • two adult-aged people to exchange money for sexual services, whether those are

  • fantasy services or overtly sexual services.

  • This covers a wide range of

  • work, it's not just prostitutes and escorts who are sex workers. Strippers are

  • sex workers, full-body sensual masseuses are sex workers, cam models, live webcam

  • models are sex workers, porn performers are sex workers, etc. etc.

  • In fact one of the things that FOSTA does, is make sex workers

  • more vulnerable to traffickers and we're seeing this, where you're a sex

  • worker you used to have an ad up on Backpage now you don't have a Backpage ad,

  • you're trying to figure out how to find your clients and you start getting

  • calls from people that are like "hey I know you can't advertise anymore I can

  • help you get clients, give me a call."

  • Which is pimping, right?

  • Critics of FOSTA say that the law will push sex trafficking and sex work back

  • underground, offline where authorities will have a much harder time tracking

  • sex trafficking and getting victims to help they need.

  • We can't screen our clients as easily, we can't engage in the kinds of activities

  • that help keep us safe, we can't find each other online as easily, we can't

  • share safety information online as easily.

  • Senator Portman, the congressman

  • who co-sponsored the legislation that became FOSTA claims that, with this law

  • authorities and victims of sex trafficking can go after websites like

  • Backpage.com.

  • Ironically though, Backpage.com was

  • seized by law enforcement before FOSTA was signed into law, which calls into

  • question how necessary FOSTA was in the first place.

  • Critics also worry that the law is so vague that its consequences could be

  • even more far-reaching.

  • We're gonna see a lot of self-censorship on the Internet,

  • we're gonna see not just sexual content necessarily getting censored, but

  • definitely adult content. How does Google know who's a sex worker and who's just

  • like someone in love with someone very far away?

  • You know what I mean?

  • It's just that sex workers are the frontline of that.

If we work together we can get the criminal traffickers off our streets and off of

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B1 US Vox trafficking sex trafficking illegal site monitoring

This anti-sex trafficking law could end internet freedom

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    Samuel posted on 2018/05/07
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