#SexWorks: A Short Manifesto on Power at Play,

Introduction | Learning the Law | Steps in the Dark | Conclusion


Sex is an ancient, indisputable aspect of human life and development. Work in this field never deserves shame or violence. Participants are the average person who commit no harm by selling sexual contact.

So we completely reject Sens. Merkley (D-OR) and Sasse's (R-NE) SISEA, or the Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act. Both politicians know better than imposing ridiculous bureaucracy onto online platforms. They witnessed previous sexphobic bills firsthand: the Fight Online Sex Trafficking and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Acts (which were enacted in 2018)!

Yet S. 5054 (SISEA) punishes any down- or uploader who lacks explicit documentation for their files in three ways. Identity verification would be mandated and require unanimous consent from everyone, plus a detailed distribution range. Attaining Twitter's blue check is already intimidating by comparison. This latest effort is prohibition by government and not improvement for sex work.

How did digital space conservatize? Examine these details. Each law bans the avenues of erotic trade and affiliated peoples for supposed justice. Though such decisions actually impact independence altogether.


S. 652 or 1996's Communications Decency Act famously upheld sex workers' protection via a very relevant statute: Title V, Section 230. It would become the centerpiece in this ideological fight between censorship and personal choice.

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable for any voluntary action*" (like FOSTA) "taken to restrict access to...material that the user or provider considers to be objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected." Section 230 is a rough guide on power dynamics and consumer-telecommunication input.

Amendment repealed many liberties through FOSTA. A certain ISP or host website could precede arrest and clients' removal for good. Sex workers waited on their cases through district court. However, we must repeat that no concrete criteria match an average e-browser to continual trafficking at all.


Blocking out Backpage and familiar SW forums proliferated danger. Statistics do confirm increased street-base attacks alongside anecdotal evidence. Pimps felt emboldened to reapproach independent employees. Pressure and staying hidden are clear factors in street workers' deaths as well.

Customers are harder to screen, and blacklisted predators are no longer an editable list online. So risks are taken which otherwise would not be. For example, one in three Black transgender women face acute aggression publicly (Best Practices Policy). Policing threatens their livelihood the most so enforcement can't be contextually involved.

90% of all jailed sex workers are Black in low-income neighborhoods or careers if you were not aware (Best Practices Policy/Collective Action for Safe Spaces). Sex work's revenue allows most of them an affordable life. This has been millions' job since the 20th century. Sex worker advocacy changes momentum around law worldwide! We can start in Washington, D.C.


DecrimNow is an African-American LGBTQIA+ collective who fiercely organized on mutual aid and decriminalization. The Sex Workers Advocates Coalition is their sister organization. Each group clarifies an ongoing necessity for church and state's separation if sex work will achieve codified rights. After all, religious Judeo-Christian imperialism is the impetus behind this centuries-long campaign. Prostitution consistently receives mixed response from leadership.

They must agree that sex within reasonable regulation is beneficial for all parties. The 2019 Community Safety and Health Amendment Act called for comprehensive action from D.C. Council members and at-large candidates.

"Remove certain criminal penalties for engaging in sex work," Bill 23-0318 suggested, "in order to promote health and safety." Witnesses were encouraged to submit testimony for the hearings. Multiple officials co-sponsored the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act from Councilwoman Nadeau to David Grosso. Initially it did not succeed. Though local forces have been permanently radicalized since October 2019. HIPS leader and bill author Tamika Spellman understands that this bitter battle lasts till gaps close for sex workers, poor people.

"In all actuality, those who are unfortunately in trafficking have a missing set of resources they need to enable them to walk away," she said. So alliances like Desiree and SWOP USA fight for them. Thousands of dollars are crowdfunded every year toward stable living, legal aid, education stipends, reproductive health—thriving community. This work is impossible alone.


Not a single anti-trafficking act accomplished its goal. In fact, they arguably have set us further away from the proper solution: decriminalization. Remember that several investigations provide a damning expose on these repealing acts and deteriorating life quality: community analyses on national income loss, UN coalition reviews, even GAO findings till 2021 last year.

These descriptive data sources also contributed to the SAFE Sex Workers Study Act (re-introduced on International Sex Workers Rights Day) in March 2022 (Senate.gov). Reps. Khanna, Lee and Sens. Warren, Wyden endorse a clear look at FOSTA/SESTA's effect on the States, especially the most marginalized residents here. H.R. 6928 requires a 2023 Attorney General's report after more research under Health and Humans Services.

How else do we save sex work? Connect directly TO sex workers, their initiatives and radical work. They are valid members of society. Usually, they are the vanguards for any revolutionary action because each one understands "if one of us, if none of us".

Here are relevant networks, sexual health links and articles on each topic! Communication's potential expands daily. Stay informed. Sex is natural. End the stigma.


Senator Warren, Wyden, Representative Khanna, Lee Introduce Safe Sex Workers Study Act (Senate.gov, 3-03-22) (117th Congress, H.R. 6928)

Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (Congress.gov, 12-17-20) (116th Congress, S. 5054)

The Community Safety and Health Amendment of 2019 (D.C. Council, 6-04-19)

Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (Congress.gov, 4-03-17) (115th Congress, H.R. 1865)

Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (Congress.gov, 8-01-17) (115th Congress, S. 1693)

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Congress.gov, 3-30-95) (104th Congress, S. 652)


#AcceptanceWorks - LGBTQIA+ advocacy group of sex workers who created a website to speak out

Adult Industry Laborers & Artists

AVN Network

The Black Sex Worker Collective

Desiree Alliance - "organizations working in overlapping struggles for the rights of sexual and gender minorities, sexual rights in general"

Eros Association - Australia's premier adult entertainment association

Free Speech Coalition - non-profit trade association of sex work (Twitter)

European Sex Workers Alliance

Global Network of Sex Work Projects

HIPS - D.C.-based harm reduction and sexual health organization

Putas Feministas

Network and Resource Masterpost (Tryst) *

RedTraSex (La Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinoamérica y El Caribe)

The Red Umbrella Fund

Scarlet Alliance

Sex Worker Advocates Coalition

Sex Workers Outreach Project USA

Sex Workers Project - national advocacy group who distribute free resources

Sonke Gender Justice - South African organization

SIN - Australian sex worker advocacy

Weekly Progressive Spotlight

Reading Links and Reports

America's Rental Housing 2022 (Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University) [Text]

Sex Trafficking: Online Platforms and Federal Prosecutions (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 6-21)

Post-Report Responses to the Third Cycle 36th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (Best Practices Policy, 4-21)

How Mastercard's New Policy Violates Sex Workers' Rights (ACLU, 10-15-21)

Input from the Black Sex Worker Collective, Best Practices Policy Project, the Outlaw Project, Desiree Alliance and New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance (UN Office of High Commissioner, 12-04-20)

2020 Annual Report (Collective Action for Safe Spaces, 11-20)

Erased: The Impact of FOSTA/SESTA (Hacking//Hustling, 1-20)

Tamika Spellman on Belonging and Toward Black Sex Worker Liberation (Black Women Radicals, 12-19)