New Bill Introduced To Study Impact Of SESTA/FOSTA On Sex Workers

from the good-to-see dept

A few months back, we were pleasantly surprised to see Rep. Ro Khanna announce plans to introduce a bill that would study the impact of FOSTA on sex workers. Earlier this week, he came through, introducing the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, which he's introducing with Rep. Barbara Lee in the House. On the Senate side, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden have introduced the companion bill. You can read the bill here. It would task Health & Human Services with studying the impact of FOSTA on sex workers, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health.

The bill is quite clear in laying out the concerns these elected officials have about the overall impact of FOSTA:

“There has been a host of anecdotal reporting from sex workers and community health organizations that following the enactment of SESTA/FOSTA, sex workers have faced greater threats of physical and sexual violence, as they are increasingly pushed off on-line platforms and onto the streets to seek clients. Despite these reports, no national study has been conducted to assess the impacts of SESTA/FOSTA on sex workers,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “Sex workers have relied on such internet platforms to screen clients and negotiate boundaries for consensual, transactional sex services, including condom use and other harm reduction strategies. While SESTA/FOSTA was intended to curb online sex trafficking, by banning the “promotion of prostitution,” a host of internet platforms relied on by sex workers have shut down. My bill would mandate the first national study investigating how the shutdown of websites in connection with SESTA/FOSTA impact the health and safety of people who rely on consensual, transactional sex. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Lee, Senator Warren and the many advocates on this critical issue.”

“For far too long, SESTA/FOSTA has demonized and harmed sex workers,” said Rep. Lee. “Instead of preventing sex trafficking, SESTA/FOSTA made it harder for sex workers to access critical health and safety resources. We need the full picture – that’s why I’m proud to work with Rep. Khanna and Senators Warren and Wyden on this legislation to study the full effects of SESTA/FOSTA. It’s imperative we ensure that everyone has the full picture when making reproductive health decisions.”

“As lawmakers, we are responsible for examining unintended consequences of all legislation, and that includes any impact SESTA-FOSTA may have had on the ability of sex workers to protect themselves from physical or financial abuse,” said Senator Warren. “I’m glad to be working with Representatives Khanna and Lee, and Senator Wyden to do just that with the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act.”

“Last year I warned that forcing websites to take down any mention of sex work would remove agency from sex workers and put them at great risk of violence and abuse, all while making it harder to catch sex traffickers and aid victims of human trafficking. So far, initial reports from cities across the country show that violence against sex workers is rising dramatically and there’s little evidence that this law is helping victims. Representatives Khanna, Lee and Senator Warren are taking the common-sense position that HHS should study the impacts of SESTA-FOSTA on the most vulnerable members of society, so that Congress can make informed policy decisions, rather than chasing knee-jerk responses,” said Senator Wyden.

As some are noting, this study could be a first step to repealing FOSTA-SESTA (though the law is still being challenged in the courts as well).

The bill already has a bunch of co-sponsors -- though I'll note that there are no Republican cosponsors, so the bill at this point is not bipartisan. Also of note, one of the cosponsors (as far as I can tell, the only one where this is true), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, was also a cosponsor of FOSTA. Still, Senator Warren did vote for SESTA in the Senate, so it's good to see her appear to recognize that may have been a mistake. It's still not clear if this bill will go anywhere, but just the fact that some in Congress are recognizing that FOSTA may have put more people in danger (even as it was pitched as a way of "protecting" victims) is at least a good start.

Filed Under: barbara lee, elizabeth warren, fosta, health, ro khanna, ron wyden, sesta, sex workers, study


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:07am

    Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen house

    I applaud the intent, but I worry about putting the studies in the hands of an Executive branch that has been un-shameful in directing agencies to pursue their political agendas rather than serve the people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:11am

      Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen house

      I trust Fox to give "fair and balanced" coverage of the evolving situation in the henhouse. If not them, whom can you trust?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:17am

        Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen hous

        Why not Brietbart, Infowars and DailyCaller?
        Those are some fine journalistic institutions right there mister.
        /s

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen

          The WEEKLY WORLD NEWS for the win.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          R/O/G/S, 21 Dec 2019 @ 5:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen

          Why not WaPo, or the Sulzbergers CIA/FBI disinfo outlet New York Times?

          Spade/spade

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 6:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the

            Remember parents, don't let mom-to be use meth while pregnant, unless you want the above to result.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              R/O/G/S, 24 Dec 2019 @ 7:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in

              I bet you f*ck goats.

              I bet your mother is a goat.

              Remember kids, people like the poster above fck goats, and then yammer about the effects of meth (in curiously avid detail), while fcking their goat, and adulating the Sulzberger/Bezos brood of goat f*ckers

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen hous

        You forgot the /s.

        If you didn't, however, how about the dogs hired to protect the hen house from the foxes. In this instance, some external organization that has a reputation for integrity and pure scientific and statistical rigor and is reasonably removed from governmental influences. Better, several organizations that will conduct independent surveys where results could be compared by any Joe or Jane sixpack.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen

          I don't think anyone in government is 'up' to the task of this kind of private investigation!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 11:54am

      Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen house

      Trump's not going to be president forever. It just feels like he has been.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen hous

        Oh, I am non partisan when it comes to presuming government types (certainly two branches, sometimes three) are doing things in their own interest, rather than in the interest of the people. Its been a long time since we have seen different, for two of the three branches at least.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 2:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fox to conduct study of chickens welfare in the hen

          There's a reasonable likelihood that our next president will be someone who voted for this bill.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 12:29pm

        Trump's not going to be president forever.

        Forever? No. Even Trump will die. But for the rest of his life? Of that, I’m not so sure — especially given how hard the GOP defends him and how much it tries to rig elections in its favor through gerrymandering and voter purges. I could see Trump and the GOP agreeing to cancel the 2020 election with the excuse of “we can’t secure the election so we’ll have to wait on holding one”.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 2:56pm

          Re:

          I could see Trump and the GOP agreeing to cancel the 2020 election with the excuse of “we can’t secure the election so we’ll have to wait on holding one”.

          I've been seeing variations on that conspiracy theory every election since I've been old enough to vote in them. So far it hasn't happened.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 3:34pm

            Trump and the GOP have the perfect excuse, though:

            Our electoral infrastructure is too susceptible to interference from foreign adversaries. Until such time as the government can ensure an election free from as much interference as possible to ensure fair results, it will not hold an election.

            It would go right in line with Trump and the GOP, too. Trump wants to be an authoritarian dictator like his friend Vladimir Putin (see: his comments on Article II). The GOP has actively fought efforts to beef up election security and fight disinformation from, among other sources, Russia. And Trump was just impeached for trying to extort an investigation of a political rival from a foreign power.

            I’m not saying a “postponement” of the 2020 election is definitely going to happen. I’m not even saying it’s even being discussed (or has been discussed) by Trump and the GOP. But I am saying that, all things considered, such a thing happening isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 20 Dec 2019 @ 7:31am

              Re:

              Trump and the GOP have the perfect excuse, though:

              Yeah, heard the same line when it was Bush. "He's going to use the threat of terrorist attacks as an excuse to suspend elections and declare martial law."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 12:43am

                Re: Re:

                Martial law may come after a city goes up from a nuclear blast or after a portion of California breaks off into the Pacific or some similar catastrophe like a small biological outbreak or a portion of the population gets microwaved. It is a distinct possibility that it is well past the planning stages. They are just tidying up their bunkers and making last minute preparations, getting the last of their supplies in order. The UN troops are already in America. The gillotines are in warehouses. Once martial law has been declared , the chip implants will start. Then all hell should break loose. House to house takedowns. People shot on the spot. Its going to be biblical.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 21 Dec 2019 @ 7:38am

                Re: Re:

                Also Obama.

                "President Obama Confirms He Will Refuse to Leave Office if Trump is Elected"

                http://archive.is/g3L9X/image

                https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-confirms-he-will -refuse-to-leave-office/

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Dec 2019 @ 8:02am

                You say that like the GOP didn’t even think about it. Given how the Republicans treated Obama during his two terms, and given everything we know about how Republicans try to stack election decks in their favor through voter suppression and gerrymandering, I would have put it inside the realm of possibility. And given how they’re (almost) all trying to keep Trump in office by sacrificing their dignity and credibility, I would consider the possibility of a suspension of the 2020 election for “election security” reasons to be real, if inherently small.

                But hey, if the Republicans are willing to shirk their constitutional duties as a check on the president’s powers, I have to wonder what else in the Constitution they’re willing to sacrifice for the power they so desperately crave.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  R/O/G/S, 21 Dec 2019 @ 5:15pm

                  Re:

                  Its insane to even speculate as you are doing, considering that even Bush didnt do it.

                  Looneytoons, whats the point?

                  Bipartisan bickering is an American mental disorder.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 2:04am

                    I can (and will) speculate whether you like it or not. The only things you can do about it are either complain or move on with your life. Make your choice.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      R/O/G/S, 24 Dec 2019 @ 9:50pm

                      Re:

                      Alright mom. Wutever.

                      But thanks for not kicking me out of your basement while I try to make those hard choices.

                      And for your part, keep up that Loonietunes bi-partisan conspiracy shit. Maybe some day, we can both get a real job in a partisan think tank, spewing garbage like yours.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 25 Dec 2019 @ 6:16am

                        Re: Re:

                        Rog accusing someone of a crazy conspiracy theory. I love it.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 25 Dec 2019 @ 11:30pm

                          Re: Re: Re:

                          LTNS, nasch卍.

                          As I recall, you are a Nazi, right?

                          Idiot.

                          Read the guys post, he himself nearly admits his own indulgence in known conspiracy ideology.

                          Oh, thats right, now I remember: you seldom/never engage with the material matters at hand, prefering instead to quibble and bicker.

                          Meanwhile, another ROGS Bingo on the manufactured terrorism card, as yet another guy goes ballistic after organized gangstalking in Pensacola, as yet ANOTHER guy is cyberstalked by FBI/CIA,affilliated Mossadi jihadis online and off.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 21 Dec 2019 @ 6:55pm

                  Re:

                  I have to wonder what else in the Constitution they’re willing to sacrifice for the power they so desperately crave.

                  Everything.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 4:26am

            Re: Re:

            "I've been seeing variations on that conspiracy theory every election since I've been old enough to vote in them. So far it hasn't happened."

            True enough but...there are a LOT of things under the Trump presidency everyone would have said "It wouldn't happen".

            Not even Nixon comes close.

            I don't believe the GOP as a whole would want to cancel elections over Trump. I just believe there's a non-zero chance the shameless career creeps who've lashed themselves to Trump's chariot would try.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 10:50am

    Like blind-firing a gun and not caring who it hits

    The bill already has a bunch of co-sponsors -- though I'll note that there are no Republican cosponsors, so the bill at this point is not bipartisan.

    Something that really needs to be brought up and hammered home until it sticks is that if those that were in favor of the original bill are not in favor of a study to see if it actually does what it was claimed to, they either don't care what the result were, nicely destroying any claims that they may have made about how they were in favor of FOSTA because of the 'poor victims' they were using for PR, or they know full well that FOSTA has not had good results and they don't want that to be officially recognized.

    In either case I really cannot think of a good reason to not want to study the effects of the law, but I can certainly think of several self-damning reasons why a politician wouldn't want that sort of study done, and for any that refuse to back it they really need to be forced to answer why, if only to see them squirm and come up with lousy excuses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 11:56am

      Re: Like blind-firing a gun and not caring who it hits

      Something that really needs to be brought up and hammered home until it sticks is that if those that were in favor of the original bill are not in favor of a study to see if it actually does what it was claimed to

      That's not necessarily the case. Warren voted for SESTA but she's co-sponsoring this new bill.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Like blind-firing a gun and not caring who it hits

        Which would mean she wouldn't be one of the people I'm talking about. She voted for the original bill and she's in favor of a bill that would set up a study to see if it actually worked, whereas my comment is aimed at those that voted for FOSTA but aren't in favor of the study into it's impact.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 12:46am

      Re: Like blind-firing a gun and not caring who it hits

      This is seeming an awlful lot like a facebook social experiment to me. Who wants to have their name attached to one of those?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 19 Dec 2019 @ 12:04pm

    Wow! A bill to study the impact of a bill which is already widely held to be bad! As soon as it passes the house and the senate and doesn't get vetoed, the government can spend lots of money and the next several years having a select committe of navel contemplaters (or "navel consultants") find ways to debate an issue which most of the rest of the universe has already settled after which said committe will arrive at the opposite conclusion and recommend making it more oppressive.

    When angling for re-election it's always good practice to "address concerns" to reel in the people who would be put off if you voted for the bill and then wait until after the election to report that the findings really back up your vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 19 Dec 2019 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      Doing a study on the effectiveness of a law is great. It should happen for every law passed. Yes it will cost money but getting empirical proof is so much better than just assuming the result.

      I agree FOSTA was badly legislated and should be repealed but we dont know the full extent of it's influence until a study is conducted. We might find the negative impacts were not as bad or worse than anyone thought. At a minimum we can use it as evidence for how to better legislate in the future, if the politicians will pay attention to the results.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bobob, 19 Dec 2019 @ 3:29pm

        Re: Re:

        [quote]Doing a study on the effectiveness of a law is great. It should happen for every law passed. Yes it will cost money but getting empirical proof is so much better than just assuming the result. [/quote]

        How about doing the study of the concept prior to even starting to write the bill? It's not like FOSTA was so intricately nuanced that the side effects being considered hadn't been pointed out many times prior to passing the law. If legislators actually studied legislation before passing to suit the way the wind was blowing on their election campaigns, the need to study the effects after passing legislation would be a rarity.

        Another example was the Communications Decency Act, which passed the senate with a vote of 81-18 (if I recall) and against which an injuction was imposed and later upheld by a unanimous supreme court ruling. There is no way to convince that more than 1 or 2 senators would have not realized this before ever putting pen to paper (considering most are lawyers.)

        I'm not about to cut any slack to a legislative body whose actual job is to study and understand the legislation they are voting on. Call it for what it is - appealing to the emotional response of voters by using fallacious logic and wording designed specifically to improve their chances of being re-elected.

        The phrase that comes to mind is, "Why is there always enough time to do something twice, but not enough time to do it right the first time?" (You can include money along with time.) If they aren't up to the task of doing things right the first time, they aren't smart enough to be in a position of telling anyone else what to do.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bobob, 19 Dec 2019 @ 9:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Here's an idea. Any legislation that is passed that gets struck down or has parts of it invalidated by a unanimous supreme court ruling, automatically disqualifies every legislator who voted for it from ever running for a federal office again with the sponsors of the legislation being expelled for the remainder of their term and then banned for life. It's pretty safe to say that anything that gets all 9 justices to agree was unconstitutional, was a fucked up piece of legislation written by demagogues.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2019 @ 12:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          They'd just pack the court so all the justices will never agree.

          I am 100% sure some would do that. There's no reason the Supreme Court can't have just 1 or 2000 justices. 9 Justices is just the modern convention.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 7:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Though most of the CDA was struck now, that part that wasn't gave us CDA 230, and we all know just how much of a benefit that has been.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      Government by sociopathy in a nutshell.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 19 Dec 2019 @ 2:12pm

    havnt we had this already??

    I thought we had this evaluation almost each year..
    and with most state and fed services cut back...HOW in hell are you going to do this??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2019 @ 4:56pm

    "You dare question FOSTA?!" John Smith drummed his feet, air snorting from his flapping nostrils in outrage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2019 @ 3:46am

    When your aim is to punish those who choose to engage in sex work even more than it is to catch traffickers, you don't want an impact study on your law when it was sold to the public under the guise of, "we need to stop mass kidnappings of children to be sold into sex slavery (on the internet)". The inciting bullshit claims and moral panic couold only last so long, god forbid anyone look into it after the fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 12:55am

      Re:

      The government is screening sex workers for the bunker complex system when they will live out the war duration underground and employ google autonomous vehicles to scour the surface for signs of life. Several major projects, corporations flew sex workers to camps to do what they do because work was hard and long and people just have to be people sometimes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 2:34am

        Re: Re:

        These newly employed underground workers will drive golf carts around delivering the paper for the underground, wearing a patch on their shirt or blouse that reads, 'PSST' for physical stress & social therapist. Just call them over and schedule an appt by whispering, "psst!"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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