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Instead, sex workers will be driven to the streets, she says, and may even lose their ability to do their work independently.As online options are vanishing, Rhee says she’s received solicitations from services offering to help her get clients.“Those that are impoverished, those that are running away from abusive partners, those that are actively trying to get out of really bad situations, especially black, trans street workers,” N’jaila Rhee, an educator and sex worker who hosts The Cuntcast Podcast, tells .“They’re now cut off from a means of elevating themselves into a safer workspace.” Switter, which uses a domain hosted in Austria, offers a workaround to this US legislation.
The stigma around sex work is far from gone, and the fallout from FOSTA for those in the industry is proof. Adult content is disappearing off Google Drive, and many sex workers say they’re being forced off social media. The controversial classifieds site Backpage, which many escorts used to screen clients, has been seized by the FBI.Lumping “paid sexual services” into the same category as guns and drugs, she says, is only furthering the idea that paying for sex is an immoral act. Furthermore, driving sex workers off mainstream sites like Reddit, Craigslist, or Skype means pushing them away from resources that Hunt says are absolutely vital.“This will only force many more workers into the hands of exploitation and street work, as they will no longer have access to these resources,” she says.Lola Hunt, an Australian escort working with Assembly Four, says these rules or outright bans are especially damaging for workers located in America.“When we’re censored on platforms, it sends the message to the general public that sex work is a mostly negative thing in society and NEEDED to be removed,” she tells via email. is now one of the only countries [where] you can legally buy multiple firearms, which can kill someone, without a license, but you could be charged for carrying condoms,” she says.With the news that President Trump has signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), their options will continue to dwindle — and with it, the ability for many sex workers to pay their bills, let alone do so safely.Over the past few weeks, sex workers have been turning to an unexpected platform to remain online: the social network Mastodon, under a new instance called “Switter.” Melbourne-based company Assembly Four created Switter after its founders learned that social media platforms were either removing sex workers’ content or banning their accounts.“It’s very frustrating, to be targeted like that,” Buffy says.“Switter is a safe space, one where I don’t have to dance around the word ‘escort’ or pretend I’m something I’m not.