We are raising awareness about a new petition developed by the Sex Workers Project and the Daily Kos. Please sign the petition if you are concerned about S.1693 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and H.R. 1865 Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). This legislation limits the sharing of vital safety information for communities of sex workers and limits advertising options for sex workers. Studies have shown that the more pressure placed on sex workers to prevent them from accessing income, the more health and rights are imperiled. Specifically, FOSTA/SESTA limits Section 230 — which was originally established to protect online platforms from liability over users’ free speech (ie sex work) — forcing platforms to ban sex workers or use of their apps for sex work (or anything that could be perceived as sex work). Congress has put sex workers — many of whom are trans women of color — and other communities at risk, chilling our free speech and further infringing upon our human right to work.

Please note: The message to Congress associated with this petition effort is clear and we are in full support. However, this is a collaborative effort and some statements in the educational materials are not the terms or approach that BPPP normally uses in regards to street based work (which we do not stigmatize as more “negative” than indoor work because we follow the leadership of street workers themselves on these issues and because we believe that all have a right to be in public space without stigma) and in the use of the term “client” (anyone who perpetrates abuse and rights violations is not a “potential client” but a rights violator). Street based sex workers have a long tradition of organizing for safety and community even in the face of unimaginable levels of policing and stigma. In this fight to repeal FOSTA/SESTA there is much we can learn from the decades of resistance from the street.