One of the basic concepts of “law”, is this:
Law should bring order to disorder, not create chaos.
But this is not always the reality. FOSTA, a law that was championed for being a means to combat slavery, is—in reality—creating chaos and paranoia. It is bringing disorder into a part of society that had been finding more order.
Since this legislation passed through Congress (before it was even signed into law) it created chaos within the world of Consensual Transactional Sex (CTS). Websites shut down causing their users to scatter. In the first days of this chaos many were worried that this law would be used to go after the individual sex workers and their clients. Some people started trying to purge the internet of their involvement in our community. Others abandoned the online names they had used for years.
It has become an almost daily occurrence to hear that another website has disappeared. And many people whom we used to have contact with are now missing. No one knows where they are.
It was claimed that this law would be a tool to go after those who would enslave women and girls for sexual sale. It was championed as a way for victims of sex trafficking to fight back. Those are good goals. Sexual slavery and sex trafficking are evils that need to be stopped. They are outside of what we do. They are not a part of Consensual Transactional Sex, because a slave cannot give consent. A woman or girl who is forced to have sex is not consenting. She is also not choosing to be part of a transaction. In reality, it isn’t even sex—since without consent it is really rape.
Fighting against this type of vile crime is important. But it should not be done at the expense of those who are not involved. And worse, if a law is written to combat the evil of sex trafficking and slavery, it should not be used to go after people who are not involved in those things.
So now we in the CTS community live in a state of chaos. Many of the providers are suffering because they cannot get enough work. Paranoia has become so bad that it is preventing people from reaching out to anyone they don’t know. And sometimes not even to those they know. There is fear that our communications could be monitored. While new websites are popping up to replace old ones, no one is sure if it is worthwhile to connect through these sites. Will they be gone tomorrow?
Some have advised me not to talk so openly about our strife. But I must. I doubt that I can ever gain any sympathy for our community—after all, we stand outside of the social norm. But I write. It’s what I do. And perhaps I might open a few eyes to our plight. Perhaps cause a few people to think about our sub-culture a little differently. In the meantime, I try as best as I can to be a voice of calm and reason in the chaos.