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Jinx the Anarchist Sex Worker Goes to Washington

Representatives of the oldest profession were on Capitol Hill fighting FOSTA and SESTA, with our online freedoms hanging in the balance.

The corridors of power opened to the world's oldest profession last month. About forty sex workers came to Washington to meet with thirty members of Congress to push back against the Fight Online Sex Traffickers Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). Organized by Survivors Against SESTA, the event sought to open up lines of communication with elected representatives and allow sex workers to voice their opposition to the law.

"We have a motto in sex work activism: 'Nothing about us without us,'" says sex worker Jinx Lierre, a self-described anarchist. "And this definitely happened without us. So we are here to explain to folks what ended up happening as a result of this anti-trafficking legislation."

Passed in April, FOSTA-SESTA aims to hold websites liable for facilitating sex trafficking. It amends the "safe harbors" provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online services from liability for the actions of their users, to exclude sex trafficking laws from immunity.

The question is whether"'sex trafficking" can be targeted without ensnaring a host of other popular online activities. While the bill restricts liability to online platforms that are "knowingly facilitating sex trafficking," critics contend that the vague language of the law's text pressures websites to play it safe by aggressively censoring their own content."

For sex workers, the immediate concern is the threat that FOSTA-SESTA poses to their physical safety. "If you don't have the ability to check on someone's criminal record before you meet up with them," sex worker Liara Roux told Reason, "you don't know if they could be violent or not."

The Cato Institute's John Samples, who specializes in the First Amendment, warns that FOSTA-SESTA threatens the legal foundation of free expression on the internet. He also worries that the law will cartelize web companies, creating an industry in which "internet giants are locked in because they're the ones that can afford to carry out these public enforcement roles. We could see these laws tending to create a kind of regulated monopoly."

FOSTA-SESTA has divided Silicon Valley. Facebook and Oracle have publicly endorsed the law, while the Wikimedia Foundation and Engine, a trade group representing startups, spoke out against it.

Despite these concerns, FOSTA-SESTA became law in April with overwhelming congressional support. Only Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against it in the senate.

"Signing the bill was very much in character for president Trump," says Samples. "It's a bill in which it appeals to people's gut instincts about things."

In June, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with Human Rights Watch and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, filled a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the FOSTA-SESTA. EFF called its passage "a dark day for the Internet."

"You can't bring down the whole system overnight," said Lierre, who was clearly satisfied with the reception she received from congress. "We can't decriminalize sex work overnight, either. But as we continue to have dialogue with our representatives, perhaps we can shift it a little bit closer to the kind of government that we say we have."

Produced by Todd Krainin.

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  • Mark22||

    Are those Monica's legs again?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Only if she dropped about 70 lbs.

  • Mark22||

    I'm sorry, Reason, but to label opposition to authoritarian laws as "anarchist" is utterly stupid for a supposedly libertarian magazine. Not wanting to live under an authoritarian state is not the same as wanting no state.

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    Where exactly did they "label opposition to authoritarian laws as 'anarchist'"? Did you actually read the article/watch the video? The word "anarchist" is in reference to a woman named Jinx Lierre who labels herself as an anarchist. Are you one of these commentators that runs around looking to castigate Reason without actually reading or watching anything they produce?

    And even if they were labeling opposition to an authoritarian law as "anarchist"...why would that somehow bring their libertarian credentials into question?

  • Mark22||

    The word "anarchist" is in reference to a woman named Jinx Lierre who labels herself as an anarchist.

    Yes, and Reason made the judgment that among the many hundred ways in which "Jinx" labels herself (sexually aggressive, gives good head, likes a shapely ass, anarchist, loves banana ice cream, etc.), that particular attribute is somehow relevant to this story, in fact, so relevant that Reason chose to put it in the title.

    And even if they were labeling opposition to an authoritarian law as "anarchist"...why would that somehow bring their libertarian credentials into question?

    Because it falsely suggests that anarchism is relevant to opposing authoritarian laws. In fact, anarchists don't oppose authoritarian laws at all, they oppose the very concept of government.

    Are you perhaps Asperger and don't understand how context works in natural language?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Every anarchist in the news for the past century has been a communist who just shot or threw a bomb at someone famous. In 1980 all manner of communists were trying to infiltrate the LP as "anarcho-something." Nowadays it's Comstock law fanatics who want to ban ALL birth control dressing in LP drag.

  • Mark22||

    Oh, and, no, I didn't bother reading the rest of the article. Articles that start off with such tendentiousness and bias likely are not worth reading.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Go to bed. You're drunk.

  • Mark22||

    You're talking to yourself.

  • Flinch||

    I'm not sure what you read Mark, but... Jinx isn't wrapped too tight. To self describe as an anarchist does not mesh with "nothing about us without us" - that's a person demanding representation [in her case no third party bullshit]. Anarchists aren't into process, I note.
    The act is a major dissappointment, and I find it incredible silcon valley isn't unified against it: THEY are now on the hook and liable for a good part of users actions. And never mind that nobody asked for this bill. [So this is what congres was doing while slow walking Trumps nominees?]
    Lets put it differently, and say my neighbor decides to just start heaving trash over my fence. I get uppity and tell him "you clean it up!" The city comes along and labels my property as "blighted", demanding cleanup within the month or fines. I try to explain it is my neighbors criminal dumping and that they are citing the wrong person. They don't care because the law demands citing the owner of record, and refuse to investigate. That pretty much where this FOSTA-SESTA law puts alot of web based companies. I'm not surprised Fakebook jumped on this bandwagon - they want to be an arm of big brother in the worst way possible, which is why the company is dying.

  • Bubba Jones||

    All of these complaints are features, not bugs.

    Congress doesn't want sex workers ... working. The answer to all of their criticism will be "don't do it."

  • Don't look at me.||

    Just say no.

  • perlchpr||

    Yeah, that was my thought.

    "So, you're saying that I've made your illegal job harder? I'm failing to see the downside."

  • Inigo Montoya||

    For me, that was my second thought.

    My first thought was, "How much you wanna bet this isn't the first time most of these sanctimonious progs who call themselves legislators have met a bunch of sex workers?" Normally, however, it's done on the sly. Maybe their inordinate preoccupation with sex workers is the reason they never seem to get around to actually performing their constitutionally mandated duties, such as ratifying any trade agreements, or declaring wars, or even passing a budget.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Sanctimonious PRIGS, not progs—though many of them probably are also progressives who feel adult women have no self-agency.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Dems' incompetence invited the Republican landslide that prohibitionists interpret as a mandate to bring back the Comstock Laws signed by President Grant when several Democratic states were locked out of the electoral college. "Liberals" were--in Comstock's books--the scum of the earth that would LET corporations sell diaphragms, condoms and birth control pamphlets.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Except SESTA and FOSTA were originally the brainchild of Democrat legislators, not that Repulicans weren't happy to jump aboard and morally preen. This legislation is equal opportunity asshattery.

  • Flinch||

    How unsurprising. Looking at how the now infamous "dossier" has been used against a political enemy, it follows the statists would want a tool that allowed them to plant info onto servers to make tech companies heel. Republicans being stuck in "me too" mode going on decades, they couldn't resist. Asshattery it is, and more proof that "bipartisan" legislation almost always sucks - especially when its a democrat idea [but the Recucks do their own stupid things too].

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Bipartisan: any measure or movement so imbecilic, immoral, unethical, or power-hungry that it appeals to vermin from both parties.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "The question is whether"'sex trafficking" can be targeted without ensnaring a host of other popular online activities. "

    I would argue that there is a deeper layer of question; Whether "sex trafficking" as popularly understood has any meaning beyond a deeply suppressed Feminist fantasy of Male dominance combined with a determination to ensure that males must kowtow to women's political and social demands to obtain sex.

    "Sex Trafficking" smells strongly of the Victorian pearl clutching that fueled the "White Slavery" panic(s) of a century or more ago. This, too, were based on 'respectable' women not wanting to have to compete for male attention with sex-work professionals.

    The older (and grouchier) I get, the more my instincts shout that no social ill is so bad that combating it justifies creating a category of exception to the Fist Amendment. Not even Child Pornography. If you have molested a child, to hell with you. If all they have on you is photographs or (sillier still) drawings, you may be a scumbag, but that isn't grounds for throwing you in the clink.

    And as for the Neo-Victoria scolds; Ladies? Start buying cucumbers. If you're so annoying that men will go to prostitutes to avoid you, risign yourselves to dying alone.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Well, I am pretty amazed that 40 sex workers were able to actually meet with members on Congress on Capitol Hill. I mean, I am sure they meet with them ALL THE TIME privately *rimshot* but wow, publicly.

    Not holding my breath, but perhaps a discussion about decriminalizing prostitution can go mainstream. I don't recall it being so visible in the past, but maybe I just missed it.

    Of course, if it ever did get decrim or legalized, then we'd have have to finally address private discrimination. The first legal sex worker who says "I don't do race X" is going to spark a whole set of debates about this.Indeed, this would kind of lay the craziness of outlawing private discrimination bare...what are we gonna do ? Force people to have sex with those they don't want to ?

  • swampwiz||

    Why would any man pay to have sex with Jinx?

  • Iheartskeet||

    Morbid curiosity about whether the drapes match, uh, the, uh...never mind.

  • josh||

    You know that as they were walking the halls, they were waving and saying hello to practically everyone. After all, this can't be the first time there were sex workers in the halls of Congress.

  • Eddy||

    "Representatives of the oldest profession were on Capitol Hill"

    Before reading the article or the comments, I'm going to bet this is going to be treated as the set-up to so many jokes...

  • BILKER||

    i'm completely certain the the whore we have working in the hallowed halls of congress will, indeed, support their fellow prostitutes.

  • SoFree||

    How do you relax? I love having sex with girls from escorts https://escortjohannesburg.info/ I do not care what people think about me.

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