Good News: Bill To Study The Impact Of FOSTA Reintroduced

from the a-small-step-in-the-right-direction dept

Back in 2019, Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee along with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden introduced a bill to study the actual impact of FOSTA on sex workers. While that bill unfortunately went nowhere, the same group is now back and have reintroduced the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act (SSWSA). This is an important bill, especially at a time when many in Congress are looking to follow up FOSTA with a new bill, EARN IT, which takes the FOSTA playbook and goes even further with it. During the EARN IT markup, many Senators bragged about their support for FOSTA, even as the evidence has shown that it has made the problem they claimed they were solving much, much worse.

So it’s a tiny, tiny step in the right direction to get a bill that even aims to study whether or not the bill created real harms for sex workers — though, ideally we’d get a bill that studies all of the harms that FOSTA created (not just those to sex workers, even as they almost certainly faced the most harm by far), and one that set up a plan to repeal FOSTA once the study proves the underlying question.

Unfortunately, Congress has long shown that it doesn’t care about sex workers. Hell, it doesn’t really care about sex trafficking or CSAM or any other problems. It just wants to pretend to care about these issues so it can get headlines and go on TV to look serious about how it’s “solving” these problems. Whether or not they actually solve any problems is very much besides the point.

Hopefully this cynical take is proven wrong, and Congress can actually come together and pass the SSWSA bill and learn just how much harm they did a few years ago. I’m glad that Reps. Khanna and Lee and Senators Warren and Wyden have put forth this bill, but considering how few sponsors it has compared to things like EARN IT, I’m not holding my breath.

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Comments on “Good News: Bill To Study The Impact Of FOSTA Reintroduced”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

I would love to be proven wrong... but I do not expect it

FOSTA passed with many a boast and press release about how this was politicians Doing Something about sex trafficking and showing how they were all about helping the victims of it.

Bill that would have double-checked if FOSTA had actually done anything positive dies before any real momentum can even build.

With EARN IT/FOSTA 2.0 in the works and aimed at exploited children this time around you’d think that this new bill to study if FOSTA 1.0 actually helped anyone but the politicians and criminals would sail through with massive bipartisan support, though I expect that the article is correct and it will be treated with the same disdain and contempt the first attempt was because those involved are only against the exploitation of people to the extent that they themselves aren’t doing it.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

One wishes we could see more of this.
If you launch a new program at work, your boss sure as fsck keeps an eye on it and makes sure it does what you said it would.

Humans need to move past the whole “facebook like” syndrome, where we pressed a button so that child isn’t in a NICU any more. Not having attention spans & demanding follow up causes more “problems” that they declare mission accomplished on and move onto the next soundbite getting thing.

Then there is the amazing idea that its a black or white choice, either you are for saving trafficked children or you support the evil child eating cabal. Shitty pointless things get passed because no one wants to look like they are against something popular, and once it passes it demands they do more & more to fix the flaws (read make it worse) and no one can touch it because you get branded as evil.

This is the exception & not the rule, to have actual evidence not paid for and provided by astroturf groups. Who knows, maybe it will become fashionable to include language in bills that requires status reports on how well it does what was claimed and if its failing the report will show it and can deflect the simplistic thinking that its a black and white thing.

Difficult problems are difficult to solve, government is a giant blunt object that can’t solve things perfectly, but if we start admitting where they are failing to meet the goal we can improve.

Congress voted to give out rent assistance via local governments, there was no requirement to return the money. Funny how many of the state lead programs failed to help many citizens & the cash ended up in the states coffers.

Congress voted to give money to small businesses to help they stay afloat… giant corporate chains got cash while small businesses, that Congress told us were to get the help, are STILL waiting for their paperwork to be processed.

One wonders if the bills started generating scorecards, could we get better laws?
That we can see what provisions just failed completely & highlight where there were hand outs for those who didn’t need them while leaving others in need with even less.

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PaulT (profile) says:

It’s actually a slightly damning point about the system as whole that there isn’t already an automatic incentive to check to see if new legislation is working as intended. I’m not sure how many countries have such a thing, but it’s certainly not a good thing that nobody’s checking on things on the bill has been passed.

Kudos for trying to force this through, but the fact that it’s apparently an original thought to say “let’s check if the thing we did to help people is actually not making things worse” is troubling.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I miss that office that used to explain tech to the geriatric leaders so they wouldn’t look completely stupid.
It would be awesome to bring it back and create a new one that looks at what bills are actually doing.
Non-partisan, just people who can score how well the law meets the promised goals.
Of course Congress would never want this because that office would clearly spell out all the friendly back scratching that ends up in every bill to keep the donors giving & show us the actual cost of our tax dollars for the handouts.

Congress would hate it, that along should get citizens bi-partisan support for it.

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