The national increase in sex worker activism is coming at a particularly precarious time. In April, President Trump signed SESTA/FOSTA, anti-human trafficking legislation that sailed through Congress with bipartisan support and made website owners liable for certain types of third-party content. Journalist Melissa Gira Grant has reported on the rapid chilling effect that followed. Websites quickly scrubbed content related to sex work, and with it the platforms many rely on to make money safely. “It sent shockwaves throughout the sex work community,” Jo, a 27-year-old sex worker in New York City, told Splinter.
But the response was just as swift. Sex workers organized know-your-rights trainings, marched, and collected testimony for the law’s first constitutional challenge.