Our Kinky Friends Discuss FOSTA/SESTA

From Wikipedia: The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) are the U.S. Senate and House bills that as the FOSTA-SESTA package became law on April 11, 2018.

Illegal sex trafficking is horrible but these poorly written FOSTA/SESTA laws have had a grave effect on legitimate sex workers, the LGBTQ community, and the internet in general. Both Tumblr and Facebook are restricting sexual content. Backpage.com shut down their adult services ads. Even Craigslist.com took down their personal ads. While some say these laws “mean well” because they are trying to stop sex trafficking, anybody who sexually expresses themselves is a victim of this censorship. This not only includes sex workers, phone sex operators, and professional Dommes, but also artists, authors, Burlesque dancers, and sexual rights activists. We are living in a scary time.

So, I asked my kinky friends about FOSTA/SESTA. Here are their answers.

Jaelean Bennis from Bondassage

 

Jaeleen Bennis is the Creator of Bondassage®, Elysium by Bondassage®, Bondassage For Couples, The Art of Bondassage Online Course and The Advanced Art of Bondassage Video Course. She is the co-author of the book Bondassage: Erotic Massage For Lovers, written with Eve Minax.  Sadism! Bondage! Sensory Deprivation and more.

http://Bondassage.com

50 % YKF special: https://www.bondassage.com/50off/

http://Jaeleenbennis.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Bondassage/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CEOBondassage

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bondassage/

How has FOSTA/SESTA affected you and your friends?

Besides the initial panic, we made sure that we:

~ Moved to encrypted email and text apps

~ Moved websites to offshore servers

~ Tried to find new advertising venues. About 85% of advertising sites took themselves down due to increased legal penalties

We lost several things:

~ Online private forums that were used to share information about dangerous clients shut themselves down

~ Tumblr, Fetlife, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Skype, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Instagram, Google (Docs, Drive, Voice) all changed their Terms of Service and became restrictive

~ Banks and online financial institutions are not sex-worker friendly. 2Checkout, AmEx Serve, Coinbase, Dwolla, Gift Rocket, GoFundMe, Google Checkout/Wallet, GreenDot, Intuit, Patreon, Paypal, Square Cash, Stripe, Venmo, WePay.

~ Website and web hosting: Blogger, Microsoft, Square, Wix.com, WordPress.com

Due to the level of fear that companies have of FOSTA/SESTA, what is your worst fear of what could happen?

My bigger fear is that, under this current president, more of our rights will be lost; privacy, free speech, and human rights have all taken a hit in this political climate.

What are some other social media websites that kinky people can use that will (or may) not be changed by FOSTA/SESTA?

Folks have migrated to Twitter, Switter.at, Fetlife

What can we do to change the FOSTA/SESTA laws?

Vote! Call/email/text your representatives. Show up and participate in marches. Sign petitions. Stay awake and vocal.

Video interview with Jaeleen Bennis

VIDEO CHAT: Jaeleen Bennis (Bondassage) with Nicholas Tanek

Hunter the Horny Huntress

Ginger Huntress is the manager of operations and outreach at Self Serve Toys, a sex educator, speaker, and social media maven. She is also a phone consultant at http://peplove.com.

Twitter: @HorneyHuntressVM

How has FOSTA/SESTA affected you and your friends?

SESTA/FOSTA have made doing various types of sex work less safe. It has had the most impact on sex workers who come from marginalized identities such as queer and trans sex workers, POC sex workers, and folks who do survival sex work. I highly recommend reading the works of Suprihmbé aka ThotScholar to learn more about how this legislation is disproportionately impacting sex workers who are already marginalized. This legislation has taken away platforms to advertise services and taken away options for vetting clients such as a bad date list, which gives sex workers a list of clients who aren’t safe to work with. The impact of SESTA/FOSTA means that more sex workers are out of work and are forced to work in conditions that are unsafe, and where they are more likely to be trafficked.

Due to the level of fear that companies have of FOSTA/SESTA, what is your worst fear of what could happen?

My worst fear is that sex workers will experience more violence and harm than we already do. People will die because of this legislation. People will be trafficked because of this legislation. And people will lose the ability to find safe and reliable work because of this. Our platforms where we promote our work are slowly being taken away, so now we must get more creative about how to find work, and how to stay safe in doing the work we do find.

What are some other social media websites that kinky people can use that will (or may) not be changed by FOSTA/SESTA?

At this point, adult content is still being posted on sites like Fetlife.com, Twitter.com, which are two of the sites that also have a large audience. Other sites like Switter.com (like twitter, but for sex workers), JoinMastadon.org and DiscordApp.com are also currently friendly to adult content, as far as I understand. SurvivorsAgainstSESTA.org put together a great resource list for sites of various types that will discriminate against sex workers. Some other options for online services that are adult friendly are Red Umbrella Hosting Eros.com.

What can we do to change the FOSTA/SESTA laws?

Talking with your representatives about why you oppose the legislation is one option, but it had wide support across party lines, so it’s not clear how much movement that will make. One of the best ways you can support people who are directly impacted by this legislation is by supporting sex workers with your money. It has become harder and scarier to make a living in this industry, so when our supporters and fans show up with dollar bills, that can make a huge difference. You can also directly reach out to sex workers you know to see how they would like to be supported.

A Video interview with Hunter the Horny Huntress

VIDEO CHAT: Ginger Huntress (The Horny Huntress) w/ Nicholas Tanek

Alex Andrews of SWOP

(Sex Workers Outreach Project)

Alex is a 53-year-old sex worker alumni who has experienced the criminalization of consensual sex work. She is the Co-Founder of SWOP Behind Bars and sits on the Board of Directors of NSWP as the North American Representative. Alex has been working with men, women and trans folks who have been incarcerated and also have experience in the sex industry and works to reduce the shame, discrimination and stigma of sex work by showing up at community meetings and town hall discussions on trafficking and using herself as an example to demonstrate that sex workers are just like everyone else. She has been called a “watchdog” of anti-trafficking activity and is committed to the unification of sex worker rights in the United States.

http://swopbehindbars.org/

http://www.new.swopusa.org

How has FOSTA/SESTA affected you and your friends?

SESTA has brought a great deal of violence to sex workers and sex trafficking victims because they have been forced to engage in riskier behavior to survive now that all the free or low-cost advertising platforms have been removed. It has also been more difficult to access sex workers for outreach and many organizations have ceased to do a lot of the outreach they used to do.

Due to the level of fear that companies have of FOSTA/SESTA, what is your worst fear of what could happen?

Our worst fears continue to become a reality as adult platforms continue to disappear and the censure of adult internet content continues to ramp up.

What are some other social media websites that kinky people can use that will (or may) not be changed by FOSTA/SESTA?

Google and Twitter just to name a few of the largest. Tumblr and Facebook are starting a “no sexual content” policy.

What can we do to change the FOSTA/SESTA laws?

Support the EFF lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of SESTA and make sure your local policymakers and legislators are aware of the harms of SESTA.

Watch the video interview with Amy Andrews

VIDEO CHAT: Alex Andrews (SWOP – Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA) w/ Nicholas Tanek

KikiTHEPuck aka Puks A’Plenty

kikiTHEpuck is the bad & bawdy burlesque performer who adores all things leather, all things radical & all things queer. Political, potent, and in your face.

Website:  http://www.mxpucksaplenty.com/
Facebook: @MxPucksAPlenty
Instagram: @pucksaplenty
Twitter: @MxPucksAPlenty

How has FOSTA/SESTA affected you and your friends?

Losing Tumblr was a huge blow for a lot of people, but especially for those making queer porn. It really hurt. Facebook has tightened up on their stuff and the fear is real.

Due to the level of fear that companies have of FOSTA/SESTA, what is your worst fear of what could happen?

That a lot of innocent people are going to end up heavily fined or in jail for consensual adult interactions.

What are some other social media websites that kinky people can use that will (or may) not be changed by FOSTA/SESTA?

I hear good things about Twitter for the time being. I still use Fetlife. MeWe is a social media platform that people have been happy with as well.

What can we do to change the FOSTA/SESTA laws?

We have to make those calls and write those letters. Marginalized groups need to be backing up other marginalized groups because FOSTA/SESTA was a huge win for right-wing conservatives and we can’t let them gain more ground on this one at all.

Video interview with Pucks A’Plenty

VIDEO CHAT: kikiTHEpuck with Nicholas Tanek

So…

What have we learned from all of this?

The FOSTA/SESTA laws could not only take away people’s sexual freedom, but make any kind of sex work more dangerous. These laws have been changing not only the internet, but people’s way of life. First, Backpage was shut down. Then, Craigslist’s “Personals” section shut down. Local dungeons began to shut down. At this time of writing, Tumblr and Facebook are banning sexual content? What’s next? Twitter? Instagram? Even Fetlife added more rules that made people change their profiles. These laws where people cannot advertise themselves will affect Burlesque dancers, Professional Dommes, Fetish models, erotic authors, photographers, filmmakers, erotic artists, the LGBTQ community, and more people than we can ever imagine. Finally, the FOSTA/SESTA laws force sex workers to go underground. We will see a resurgence of pimps, violence, criminal charges, lawsuits, and heavy legal fees.

So… what can we do?

We can fight. Now is the time to protect sex workers and anyone who wants to keep the freedom to sexually express themselves in a consensual way. Call your senator. Call your congressperson. Join protests, marches, and groups. Talk to your friends or acquaintances about FOSTA/SESTA. Spread awareness. Share ideas.

My friends, I have a message for all of you. We are proud to be kinky and we cannot let the f*cking government tell us we cannot be.

https://stopsesta.org/

 

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