On Online Sex Trafficking Bill, It’s Hookers Versus Ivanka
Next week, Congress is expected to vote on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (“FOSTA”), a bill that seems to be drawing out very strong emotions among a huge range of stakeholders, ranging from Google (which opposes the bill), to professional sex workers (who also oppose it), to anti-sex trafficking advocates (who support it) to First Daughter Ivanka Trump (who supports it.
According to Politico, “President Donald Trump’s daughter and special adviser Ivanka Trump convened lawmakers, private sector reps and advocates at the White House to vocalize her support for [FOSTA].”
Meanwhile, Politico also reports that “Sex workers who rely on the internet to arrange for work are raising the alarm over the impending vote on FOSTA-SESTA in the Senate. […] The problem is that these bills target websites that are widely and inaccurately believed to be hubs of trafficking activity when it is precisely those websites that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently, at the same time as they make it easier for authorities to find and investigate possible trafficking cases,’ author Alana Massey wrote in Allure last week.”
It’s unlikely that either Ivanka or the sex workers’ opinions will hold much sway with Republican Members of Congress, who are probably inclined to view both unfavorably given a) at least a cursory continued concern about public morals and b) widely held suspicion of Ivanka as a barely-closeted liberal.
However, figures like Mary Mazzio, the director of the documentary “I am Jane Doe,” which deals with sex trafficking, seem likely to exert more sway– likely meaning FOSTA will pass, despite objections.