LOS ANGELES — The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee and Free Speech Coalition today made an urgent call to action directed at the adult performing community to help defeat the Senate bill known as SESTA, the companion bill to FOSTA, which was passed by the House of Representatives last week.
SESTA goes to a floor vote on Monday, and both organizations are asking for those working in the industry to call their respective senators and voice disapproval of the piece of legislation formally known as S. 1693 (contact information for senate offices can be found here).
For those who prefer not to call their senators on the telephone, the organizations said that tweeting is another option, particularly with the popular hashtags #LetUsSurvive, #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA, #SESTA and #StopSESTA.
“If passed, SESTA will put sex workers who use the internet to promote and advertise in grave peril,” the FSC and APAC said. “Platforms that sustain our livelihoods will be at much greater risk, which means our community will suffer.
“SESTA would close online platforms for the sex industry. Being able to work online (and thus, indoors) is the best harm reduction,” the groups said. “This applies to everyone trading sex, wherever they are on the spectrum of choice, circumstance, or coercion. Taking away one of the very few tools sex workers have to stay safe, will only make our community more vulnerable to traffickers and those who wish to exploit us.
“When sex workers are pushed offline, they face increased risk of violence. If this bill passes, sex workers will die. Further, if the bill passes “we are likely to see performers' social media accounts dramatically censored if not shut down entirely,” the groups said.
“It is also highly likely that platforms that allow performers to upload their own content … will be targeted and shut down,” the groups said. “Of course, worse than the effect on performers is the effect this will have on direct service providers. This is a moment for all sex workers to stand in solidarity.”
“For years, lawmakers have hoped that criminalizing the sex industry will stop trafficking, but it hasn’t. Instead it has made our community more vulnerable to trafficking. It makes it harder to identify and support trafficking victims. The best defense against trafficking is a safe, strong, connected community. Safe access to housing, healthcare, and anti-poverty work, as well as empowering victims though decriminalization efforts are what prevents trafficking, not taking away tools that workers use to stay safe.”
The FSC will be opening its doors on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Canoga Park for anyone who needs assistance making those phone calls or tweets. Contact the FSC at (818) 348-9373 for location details.
The groups have created a template below for those needing assistance to make calls to their legislators in order to help defeat SESTA:
"Hi, my name is ____________ and I live in ___________ (state). I’m calling to urge Congressperson ____________ to vote NO on SESTA, Senate Bill 1693.
“I am a [loved one of a/parent of a/service provider to/an ally of] sex worker[s] and this bill would compromise the lives of people who trade sex, including trafficking victims, by taking away the platforms people are using to stay safe. I am calling to ask you not to put [me/my community/my loved one/my child] in danger of greater violence and victimization. Please vote no on this terribly misguided bill, which is expected to be voted on March 12. Thank you for your time!"