On June 28, 2019, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Internet Archive, and several individuals against the federal government. The law is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, which protects individuals from being denied life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without “due process of law.”
Read EFF’s one-page brief on SESTA/FOSTA here.
Although the law was passed by Congress for the worthy purpose of fighting sex trafficking, its broad language makes criminals of those who advocate for and provide resources to adult, consensual sex workers and actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims.”
—The Electronic Frontier Foundation
FOSTA chills sexual speech and harms sex workers. It makes it harder for people to take care of and protect themselves, and, as an organization working to protect people’s fundamental human rights, Woodhull is deeply concerned about the damaging impact that this law will have on all people.”
—Ricci Levy, President & CEO of Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Mobilization of the sex workers’ rights movement in the U.S.
Though sex workers have been organizing and advocating resiliently for decades, combatting discriminatory and unjust laws, SESTA/FOSTA ignited an outpouring of grief and activism. Among those it inspired to act were DSW Communications Director Kaytlin Bailey, Political Director Rob Kampia, and Scott and Cyan Bannister. The team recognized SESTA/FOSTA as a crucial juncture at which to pursue the full decriminalization of sex work. Longtime sex-worker-rights advocates Melissa Broudo and Crystal DeBoise joined them shortly after, bringing their combined decades of legal and social advocacy. In June of 2018, Decriminalize Sex Work was founded.
In its second year, the organization was lucky to recruit J. Leigh Brantly and Ceyenne Doroshow, powerhouse movement builders and activists within the sex-worker-rights community.
DSW is building a coalition of organizations, advocates, and professionals dedicated to supporting and passing rights-forward legislation for sex workers in the United States. Within its first year, the organization has doubled its funding, written and passed a study commission bill in NH, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation (WFF)’s constitutional challenge of SESTA/FOSTA, and partnered with local sex-worker-rights advocates in NH, RI, NY, WA, HI, CA, and Washington, D.C.