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.

Filed Under: congress, fosta, impact, intermediary liability, ro khanna, section 230, sex workers

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  1. icon
    nerdrage (profile), 16 Sep 2019 @ 10:25am

    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.

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