FSC Publishes SESTA Letter Sent to Lawmakers

FSC Publishes SESTA Letter Sent to Lawmakers
Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — The Free Speech Coalition tonight posted on its website a letter of opposition it sent to legislators regarding SESTA, which will likely be decided tomorrow on the Senate floor.

The adult entertainment trade group sent the letter, dated March 7, to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer.

Eric Paul Leue, the FSC’s executive director, for weeks has publicly said that SESTA is “dangerous, misguided legislation that will cost sex worker lives and push consensual sex work underground.”

SESTA seeks to clarify sex-trafficking laws to make it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking, and amend the Section 230 safe harbors of the Communications Decency Act — which makes online services immune from civil liability for the actions of their users — to exclude enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws from its immunity.

In the letter to McConnell and Schumer, Leue asked the senators to vote against the piece of legislation, saying “it misses the mark and suffers from numerous fatal flaws.”

He said that consideration of the legislation needs more time, “and with more time to refine the bill and explore the unintended consequences.”

Leue also asked that the senators should “dutifully sit down with sex workers, their advocates and leading experts to gain greater clarity about the issue and how this bill could adversely impact thousands of sex workers.”

“With all of its flaws, [SESTA] will not prevent sex trafficking or protect survivors. It will simply provide another tool to harass and harm these communities. For these reasons we urge you to oppose this legislation.”

To view the FSC’s letter to McConnell and Schumer, click here.

The FSC also posted on its website a letter of opposition from the National Center for Transgender Equality. That letter was co-authored by about three dozen organizations, including the FSC.

In that letter, the authors focus further on ramifications if the bill is approved and signed into law by the president. The letter also offered thoughts on what might happen for scores of websites if they are forced to close shop.

“Advertising platforms can also serve as one of the most valuable tools for distributing harm reduction and safety information — which even under current law can make an advertiser more vulnerable to prosecution," the National Center for Transgender Equality letter said. "When MyRedBook.com was closed, sex workers lost a space to share safety information, tips on how to screen and alerts of on recent experiences of violence.

"Rentboy.com was a hub for distributing and collecting information on safety and HIV prevention, but this only contributed to their precarity, as the site’s release of know your rights information to its users was cited as evidence for prosecution in U.S. v. Easy Rent Systems Inc.

The authors said they condemn efforts to make working in the sex industries unsafe.

To view the National Center for Transgender Equality’s letter, click here.

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