The Young Democratic Socialists of America opposes SESTA/FOSTA and all legislation which threatens sex workers at the federal, state, or local level.
On April 11th, President Trump signed SESTA/FOSTA into law, threatening the rights and safety of sex workers across the country. The legislation closes legal protections in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, meaning that the law now holds online platforms liable for the content of its users. While proponents of the bill insist that it will protect victims of sex trafficking, the bill conflates trafficking with sex work, undermining the autonomy of sex workers who choose their line of work, ultimately harming both sex workers and victims of sex trafficking.
The National Coordinating Committee stands in solidarity with sex workers. We unequivocally believe, as socialists, that sex workers deserve solidarity and support from our movement. In our opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, we particularly take issue with the federal government’s rhetoric which masquerades a purposeful destruction of sex workers’ safety as an attempt to combat trafficking.
The growing organization Survivors Against SESTA points out that the legislation will not address trafficking in any meaningful way and will only take away resources that sex workers and trafficking victims depend on for safety. With the signing of the legislation, online platforms that workers use to perform background checks on clients, to choose whether or not to avoid third parties for finding work, and to share valuable safety resources with each other have begun closing en masse. . The legislation also prevents sex worker advocates from sharing advice, bad-date lists, and other resources online. The disappearance of these vital resources endanger both sex workers and sex-trafficking victims, and internet censorship by the federal government prevents sex workers from being able to organize freely, standing in the way of the socialist vision of democracy in the workplace.
The National Coordinating Committee recognizes the rigorous labor sex workers have put into organizing around SESTA/FOSTA and their invaluable work in educating YDSA and DSA locals. As the youth wing of DSA, we must recognize the significant number of young adults in sex work and must put in the work to make positive material changes for sex workers.
We call on YDSA chapters to participate in and organize around direct action efforts taking place on June 2nd, International Sex Workers Day. We also encourage members to sign up for Survivors Against SESTA’s mailing list to stay up-to-date on SESTA/FOSTA action and resources. Actions in solidarity with sex workers right now are only the first step in the larger struggle for sex work decriminalization and, eventually, the liberation of the the working class from wage labor and capitalist exploitation. Most of all, we call on our members to support their friends, family, loved ones, and comrades who are sex workers. Solidarity is not only expressed in political organizing, but in interpersonal expressions of care for fellow workers.