The Circle of HOPE (2018): "Sex Worker Rights and Internet Freedom" (Download)
Friday, July 20, 2018: 2:00 pm (Ritchie): Digital media and communications technologies have been a critical component in improving the working conditions, health, and safety of sex workers in many ways. Message boards and thriving social media communities created strong communication networks where lifesaving information such as bad dates could be disseminated among peer networks to protect those in the sex trade from harm and find supportive allies. In recent years, sex worker rights have been systematically eroded in the name of combating human trafficking, despite a lack of evidence to justify these actions and the fallout they cause. The recent passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) not only continues this dangerous trend, it places human trafficking victims at greater risk and jeopardizes Internet freedom for all by eliminating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. With online platforms open to civil and criminal liability for third party content, it is inevitable that mass censorship will follow and marginalized voices will face the steepest penalties.