What is FOSTA and how does it affect you?
On March 21st 2018 the US Senate passed into law the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017”, otherwise known as FOSTA. FOSTA (known in a previous form as SESTA, or the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) amends Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which enabled website operators and tech companies to claim immunity from prosecution if it was found that they knowingly or unknowingly allowed sex trafficking on their platforms. This law only applies to companies or people operating within the territory of the United States of America.
It’s important to note that this Act refers to sex trafficking only, which is defined by “18 U.S. Code § 1591 – Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion” to be anyone who by “force, threats of force, fraud, coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or any combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act”. It does not apply to people over the age of 18 who by their own voluntary accord engage in a jointly consensual commercial sex act. So if you are an independent escort who is engaging in consensual sex for money and have not been forced in any way whatsoever to do so, FOSTA does not apply in this case. And by virtue it does not apply to a website that advertises independent escorts who are advertising their services completely voluntarily. (However, commercial sex in the United States is illegal in any form even if you are doing so completely voluntarily and consensually. So if you are advertising sexual services in the United States it was illegal to do so before FOSTA and it remains illegal to do so after FOSTA).
Of course, it could be argued that; how does a website that provides a platform for escorts to advertise their services know for sure that the escorts who are advertising are doing so of their own free will and not simply victims of sex trafficking themselves? Which is a very good question, and one that we take very seriously. Let us be very clear, we are against sex trafficking and human trafficking in all it’s guises 100% and absolutely, and it will not ever be tolerated on our website or any other platforms that we may use, and where it is found or suspected to be found occurring, it will be reported to the authorities in the relevant country and jurisdiction without exception. With this in mind we have certain safeguards in place that help detect suspected sex trafficking on our platform, and we encourage everyone to be vigilant against the warning signs of sex trafficking.
WARNING SIGNS OF POSSIBLE SEX/HUMAN TRAFFICKING:
- Does an entertainer arrive accompanied by another individual?
- Does that individual speak for or appear to maintain control over the entertainer?
- Does the entertainer seem fearful of that individual?
- Does the entertainer have difficulty communicating, whether resulting from a language barrier or fear of interaction?
- Does the entertainer have signs of physical abuse, such as burn marks, bruises or cuts?
Whilst one of these signs on its own might not give cause for concern, two or more may give rise to a potential red flag. Use common sense and report any suspicious signs to the local authorities if you suspect sex/human trafficking.
Please report any suspected sexual exploitation of minors and/or human trafficking to the appropriate authorities.
Police: 911 (Emergency)
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 1-800-843-5678
The National Runaway Switchboard: 1-800-RUNAWAY
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
1-866-347-2423 (U.S. & Canada)
1-802-872-6199 (International Calls)