For Women’s History Month, Jezebel and The Root are partnering for JezeRoot, a series that focuses on women of color, domestic workers and sex workers.
Earlier this month, a bill passed that can significantly impact the safety of U.S. sex workers. The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act cleared the House and Senate on March 21 and will presumably be signed into law by the president.
Though this bill has yet to be signed, its effects can already be measured: On March 23, Craigslist shut down its “Personals” section in response to FOSTA, which holds websites responsible for the content that people post. But sex workers and activists say that websites like Craigslist and Backpage are crucial to the safety of sex workers because they provide a way to screen clients. Without them, sex-work activists like Ceyenne Doroshow fear that young sex workers in particular may be placed in great danger.
“As a sex worker, you should have the right to screen your demographic, opposed to being into street work, where you don’t know what situation you’re walking into,” says Doroshow, founder of GLITS (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society).
“These men that write these bills and laws, they live off the backs of sex workers,” she says. “Does it matter that I suck a dick or may not or spank you or beat you? ’Cause behind closed doors, these motherfuckers is buying ass.”
For the final video in JezeRoot’s Women’s History Month coverage, we facilitated a conversation between Doroshow; Akynos, founder of the Black Sex Workers Collective; and Mona Marie, owner of Poletic Justice, and asked them to discuss legislation and the future of sex work. Watch above.