Will SESTA/FOSTA Be Repealed Under A Democratic President?


The Trump Government’s controversial legislation that makes websites liable for the actions and content of their users if they can be linked to any form of sex trafficking has changed online media worldwide. Preventive self-censorship and marginalisation of sex workers and erotic models were the result. In the manifestos of democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, some industry observers see reason to hope that the fatal trend could be reversed under a democratic presidency.

Since the introduction of the SESTA/FOSTA laws, it has become more difficult to advertise and find markets for adult and sexual products, contents and services in the US, at least in the mainstream media and on platforms such as Google, Instagram, Twitter, Craigslist and Skype. In conjunction with the censorship efforts worldwide and the sharper attacks on pornography from the political sphere, it is becoming more difficult for numerous actors, sex workers, studios, manufacturers and producers to make a living and advertise their services and contents.

In California, traditionally a liberal state, there are already efforts to overturn SESTA/FOSTA and improve the position of sex workers by law. The SAFE SEX Workers Study Act is designed to address the problem that previous legislation has often made the lives of sex workers more difficult and insecure and resulted in an increase in sex crimes.

On the occasion of the »Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers«, two of the most popular candidates for the US Democratic presidential candidacy seem to walk themselves into supporting the California law and the abolition of FOSTA/SESTA. The two darlings of the left in the USA – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders – signal for the first time that they are ready to take the problems of sex workers, adult entertainment and the adult industry seriously.

Until now, Sanders, in particular, has been very reluctant to address issues such as the decriminalization of sex work. His answers to these questions have always been evasive and unclear.

Warren, on the other hand, had already ventured the furthest of all the hopeful contenders back in July and declared that she was basically open to a debate on the legalization of sex work, including prostitution. Even though she only signaled a willingness to talk and by no means took the position that prostitution should be decriminalized, this was the clearest statement a candidate had made so far in support of improving the actual living conditions of sex workers.

The Californian bill is massively opposed by the Republicans. Especially for the religious right, the Trump policy does not go far enough. Under the guise of a “public health crisis”, they want to put an end to pornography in the USA in a potential second term for the impeached president. At the state level, the preparatory steps have long been taken; FOSTA/SESTA was only the first of many to come.

A potential second term of Donald J. Trump would most likely promote censorship in the USA to such an extent that the world of adult entertainment as we know it today would no longer be recognizable and would be forced into illegality.


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