Rep. Ro Khanna To Introduce Bill To Study Impact Of FOSTA On Sex Workers

from the well,-look-at-that dept

FOSTA was sold to Congress and the public as a way to “protect women,” who (we were told) were being sex trafficked because of a “loophole” in the law. As we warned over and over again at the time, FOSTA would actually put women at even greater risk, and that has been supported by nearly all of the evidence we’ve seen to date. Beyond the fact that the number of women who are actually victims of sex trafficking has been greatly exaggerated or completely made up to the point of ridiculousness, so far there have been multiple reports showing that the actual impact of FOSTA was to increase sex trafficking by putting sex workers at much greater risk, driving them into the greedy arms of traffickers who promise protection. This has resulted in more women dead and even police admitting that the law has made it more difficult for them to catch traffickers.

That’s pretty much exactly what many of us predicted before the law was passed, but Congress likes to pass laws and then forget about ever bothering to check whether or not the law did what it promised. So it’s interesting to note that Rep. Ro Khanna is apparently planning to introduce a bill to study the actual impact of FOSTA, specifically on sex workers. This was buried in an article about Kate D’Adamo, a lobbyist representing the interests of sex workers on Capitol Hill.

?She is one of the most vocal and effective advocates on this issue,? said Rep. Ro Khanna of California?s Silicon Valley, who plans to introduce the bill in the next several weeks to study SESTA-FOSTA?s impacts after being approached by D?Adamo and her fellow activists.

?She?s really, I think, driving the conversation about the humanity of sex workers and the vulnerability of sex workers,? he said.

The measure, which has yet to be finalized, would call on the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health to study the fallout of SESTA-FOSTA.

[….]

The extent to which SESTA-FOSTA succeeded in its stated goal of shutting down sex traffickers is unclear, but Khanna said anecdotes have flooded in that the measure has forced sex workers to walk strolls to meet clients, causing ?more violence, more harm to the public.?

?It was a wrong vote,? said Khanna, who was one of just 12 Democrats to oppose SESTA-FOSTA. ?We need to now study it and understand the consequences, which I don?t think Congress fully considered. I can?t see any reason for opposing the collection of data.

The article notes that, even as many in the public now support decriminalizing sex work, most politicians are scared of even revisiting FOSTA, afraid that it will be spun that they’re interested in decrminalizing sex work — even as FOSTA has often resulted in more sex workers on the streets in their districts.

In his meeting with D?Adamo, the aide explained that since SESTA-FOSTA passed, there?s been an uptick of sex work on the district?s streets, leading to more 911 calls from constituents. ?That?s not to say that the Congress member wouldn?t vote in favor of this on the floor,? he explained. ?The people in our district are just very religious. Because of the taboo behind sex work, the Congress member doesn?t want to scare away supporters.?

What really gets me about all of this is: where are all the vocal supporters of FOSTA who insisted it was necessary to protect women? Where are they now that so far the evidence suggests it’s put more women at risk? Why have they all gone silent? Why aren’t they vocally supporting Khanna’s effort to study the impact of the law? It’s almost as if (as we noted) this was never actually about protecting women at all.

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Comments on “Rep. Ro Khanna To Introduce Bill To Study Impact Of FOSTA On Sex Workers”

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36 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

'What are you going to study next, 'is water wet?''

I can’t see any reason for opposing the collection of data.

Oh I can think of a few… In addition to the reason in the article of politicians not wanting to appear ‘pro-sex work’ by foolish voters, there’s also the very real possibility that such a study would make official that FOSTA not only didn’t help sex workers it actually made things worse for them, which would be rather ‘awkward’ to those that were so gung-ho about how great the bill was and how they were helping so much by passing it, and raise the question of ‘If it’s been so damaging then why keep it around rather than repealing it?’

Given the study has high odds of exposing some rather nasty truths I expect that the bill to create and fund it will face some stiff opposition, or if it does squeak through the resulting study to be quickly buried and forgotten because after all ‘there are much more important things to worry about, and politicians only have so much time to do their jobs.’

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

which would be rather ‘awkward’ to those that were so gung-ho about how great the bill was and how they were helping so much by passing it, and raise the question of ‘If it’s been so damaging then why keep it around rather than repealing it?’

If they didn’t want to risk being embarassed for their vote, they shouldn’t have gotten into politics in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Given that all denizens of Capitol Hill spend their time and efforts grandstanding to get reelected and little else it’s hard to see this as anything but a move to legitimize her previous vote that might otherwise have been unpopular and harmful to reelection efforts (because the general public is stupid).

However, some good may come of this despite the motivations behind it’s creation.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Big headline was the FDA was dropping the hammer on JUUL for the claims that it was safer & demanding evidence proving those claims.

Imagine how much shitty law we wouldn’t have to live under or try to fix if they had to produce evidence to back up what they were saying??
Imagine if the BackPage notes they so desperately wanted to hide showing how helpful BackPage was were on the record rather than the incoherent ramblings of people repeating stats from a study of 4 meth users on a binge telling stories about how aliens made them be hookers.

yet another says:

Re: Re: I can get these short ones in, but not longer!

"The most critical fact is that they can’t make money like Backpage. They can’t keep the credit cards working the same way," he said. "All these sites start using PayPal, then they get shut down, then they use Venmo and it gets shut down." "Keeping the money flowing is a big part of this operation. There are not a lot of these actors who have really figured out how to do that yet. So what they try and do instead is try to transact in cryptocurrency or try to transact in gift cards. These alternate payment methods are more difficult to use, or more expensive." Spectre said it’s unlikely that a classified advertising website will gain the same market share that Backpage had years ago.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I can get these short ones in, but not longer!

IIRC, Backpage was taken down before FOSTA

It was. FOSTA wasn’t needed for any of the purposes it was claimed for.

FOSTA is the equivalent of going to the doctor to treat a bout of diarrhea, except that the diarrhea clears on its own, and the doctor’s treatment for the diarrhea after it clears is to prescribe you with a surgically grafted tumor on your left lung.

If you thought that made fuck all sense you have started to grasp the true meaning of FOSTA.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Online Sex-Trafficking Demand Drops After Backpage Takedown, Trump Admin Policies

Minor Correction: Online Sex Trafficking Demand Appears to Drop; Effect on Offline Sex Trafficking Unknown

Even if the usual online spaces for sex trafficking are going down and the ability to pay for sex trafficking online is getting harder, that doesn’t stop traffickers from using the Internet to set up offline “sales”. If anything, driving the bastards further underground — where they’re more likely to use fully encrypted communications in ways that avoid the usual data silos — only makes catching them that much harder for law enforcement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hi, blue.

If it is as you say and online sex trafficking dropped after the introduction of FOSTA, another study on its impact should be welcomed by you, not protested.

After all, if your stats are truthful, they would vindicate and justify you, wouldn’t they? Nothing to fear, nothing to hide.

Unless, of course… you were lying? Oh gosh, blue lying? I need a couch to dramatically faint over!

nerdrage (profile) says:

AT&T has jumped into the Streaming Wars, and for that they need big brands like Disney has, so they bought Time Warner. It’s not a bad idea. Netflix has destroyed entertainment distribution and the whole global industry is coalescing into a new form, where most stuff is delivered by streaming and a small amount of specific movie types – franchise blockbusters, kids animation, horror – still survive at the multiplex.

Consumers just want a few huge services so the money will end up going to a handful of global behemoths that can get above a high cutoff bar for success. I figure maybe four. That’s Netflix, Amazon, Disney+Hulu (really, think of it as one service) and one other. Could be HBO Max, could be Apple+. CBS and Comcast also think they can make it.

So AT&T has placed a very large bet on a competition where it’s very far from being a sure winner, but they do have a reasonable expectation of success and then the benefits will flow to them while many competitors face carnage. The main problem with AT&T, is that unlike Disney, they aren’t making very good decisions. Using the premium HBO brand as a catchall for any old crap is a poor decision. Why spend billions to grab the HBO brand and then turn around and destroy it?

AT&T should be able to make this work but if they blow it, I’m with the activists. Heads should roll.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Now that fosta/sesta passed:

That’s EXACTLY how Boogeyman Politics works: create or identify a Scary Thing. Promise to fight the Scary Thing. Acquire power. Realise you actually need the Scary Thing to keep hold of your power. Create or identify a scapegoat as an avatar of the Scary Thing so you can be seen to be doing what you promised. On no account should you ever succeed in slaying the Scary Thing, or you’ll have to find another one to keep you in power.

Coyote RI (profile) says:

After Fosta Impact Report Conducted by Coyote RI

While I applaud Rep. Ro Khanna for her efforts, but she might consider engaging with actual sex worker-led organizations rather than a few paid lobbyist who approached her that are not sex workers.

Coyote RI ran a survey on 262 US sex workers within 2 weeks of FOSTA passing to document the immediate effects it had on US sex workers. Impact Report can be viewed at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KBsVBQh7EsRexAyZacaf_fUvvsVb2MR1Q30_gV7Jegc/edit?usp=sharing

Coyote also ran a 145question survey on 1515 US sex workers in 2018. Our health and policy advisor, who is a 2st-year med student, wrote her 2018 thesis at Brown University on the HIV and sexual health part of the survey. and presented her findings at the AIDS conference 2018 and #HR2019, and is no creating an accredited continuing medical education class that RI DR’s will be required to take.

Coyote received a small grant from the American sociology association to survey 63 RI sex workers 2014-2016, as RI had decriminalized indoor prostitution up until 2009, and the health and safety impact was really good.

Sadly the nonsex worker paid lobbyist that approached Rep. Ro Khanna had access to all this community-based research but chose not to share it with her. This is why sex workers say #Nothingaboutuswithoutus. For more information visit coyoteri.org or email info@coyoteri.org

MrsRobinson (profile) says:

After Fosta Impact Report Conducted by Coyote RI

While I applaud Rep. Ro Khanna for her efforts, but she might consider engaging with actual sex worker-led organizations rather than a few paid lobbyist who approached her that are not sex workers.

Coyote RI ran a survey on 262 US sex workers within 2 weeks of FOSTA passing to document the immediate effects it had on US sex workers. Impact Report can be viewed at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KBsVBQh7EsRexAyZacaf_fUvvsVb2MR1Q30_gV7Jegc/edit?usp=sharing

Coyote also ran a 145question survey on 1515 US sex workers in 2018. Our health and policy advisor, who is a 2st-year med student, wrote her 2018 thesis at Brown University on the HIV and sexual health part of the survey. and presented her findings at the AIDS conference 2018 and #HR2019, and is no creating an accredited continuing medical education class that RI DR’s will be required to take.

Coyote received a small grant from the American sociology association to survey 63 RI sex workers 2014-2016, as RI had decriminalized indoor prostitution up until 2009, and the health and safety impact was really good.

Sadly the non-sex worker paid lobbyist that approached Rep. Ro Khanna had access to all this community-based research but chose not to share it with her. This is why sex workers say

Nothingaboutuswithoutus.

For more information visit coyoteri.org or email info@coyoteri.org

Ricci Levy (user link) says:

SESTA/FOSTA

Legislation is one path forward, but so are the courts. Woodhull Freedom Foundation is the lead plaintiff suing the United States to overturn this unconstitutional piece of legislation (SESTA/FOSTA).

You can read about the lawsuit, the filings, etc. right here. https://www.woodhullfoundation.org/our-work/fosta/

We go back to court this Friday, 9/20.

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