How to support survivors of sex trafficking without harming consenting sex workers

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Sex trafficking is one of the worst criminal phenomena of the 21st century. Every day, traffickers kidnap innocent people, often underage children, and force them into sexual slavery. Dozens of organizations have sprung up to fight the scourge. Although they appear to be waging a noble war, some of these nonprofits have spent time and resources trying to ban legal, consenting sex workers who have nothing to do with sex. sex trafficking. Their missions go beyond preventing sex trafficking to outlawing all forms of pornography, although they tend to primarily brag about the former when convincing lawmakers and lawmakers. celebrities join their causes.

Prosecutors have rarely charged a trafficker over FOSTA / SESTA, but the legislation “has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

For years, several nonprofit sex trafficking organizations have aligned the legal porn industry with sex traffickers. In 2018, Polaris, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Cry of Exodus, and other advocates who oppose sex trafficking have urged Congress to adopt FOSTA / SESTA. After former President Donald Trump enacted House and Senate legislation, websites became responsible for ads, comments, and other content related to sex trafficking. Although it sounds good, the law does not distinguish between legal sex work and sex trafficking. The Colombian human rights law review reports that prosecutors have rarely indicted a trafficker over FOSTA / SESTA, but the legislation “has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression.” The new rules have scared banks and other financial companies to work with legal, adult, and consenting pornographers. FOSTA / SESTA makes it harder for law abiding pornographers like me to do our job even though our job is legal in the US and we have nothing to do with sex trafficking. And, according to Vox, FOSTA / SESTA has made checking clients much less secure for sex workers in person and increased violence against women.

After the New York Times posted a story detailing gruesome tales of child endangering videos and porn revenge on Pornhub, Exodus Cry and other FOSTA / SESTA supporters pressured MasterCard, Visa and various financial companies to refuse to process payments for pornographic companies. MasterCard quickly banned payments from Pornhub, although to sell a video on Pornhub, now you need to check your age with ID and provide bank account information for payment. A few months later, OnlyFans briefly banned porn, blaming banks for refusing to process payments to sex workers (and not commenting on the matter), according to the Financial Times.

For many legal veterans of the adult industry, human trafficking often seems like a mask for anti-porn crusaders. Their crusade is working. As a 10+ year veteran of the adult industry, starring in over 1,000 porn videos, I’ve never seen so many threats to porn. The Free Speech Coalition (FSC), an adult industry lobby group, says we are fighting more laws than ever. “The FSC has hired federal lobbyists to help us more effectively reach members of Congress working on legislation that impacts sex workers and sex discourse,” said Mike Stabile, an FSC representative. The coalition is particularly concerned about “laws and regulations that encourage banking discrimination for adult businesses.” The crisis has grown to such an extent that the group has launched a fundraising campaign to hire more lobbyists.

At the same time, horrible criminals are sex traffickers outside of our industry, and these people deserve our help. To stereotype all nonprofits is to do to others what people have done to pornographers for years. Most importantly, as dedicated members of our neighborhoods and cities, legal professional pornographers should help survivors. Recently, I spoke to social justice experts about the right organizations to support. Here are some ways that adult performers and allies of sex workers can help survivors of sex trafficking without helping nonprofits that want to eliminate consenting sex workers.

1. Stay local

When it comes to nonprofits, national groups often focus on lobbying lawmakers to create new laws, but local organizations are working on the ground with survivors. Local groups tend to help survivors find housing, employment and mental health assistance. But where can you find a strong nonprofit working with survivors in your area?

Answering which is the best group is “a tricky question because many organizations serving survivors are more localized,” says Kate D’Adamo, a longtime sex worker rights activist who was previously the policy advocate. National Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, which works to de-stigmatize and decriminalize people in the sex trade. The best group may not have the best SEO on Google, and there are many national anti-porn groups that serve ads on search platforms.

D’Adamo encourages potential donors or volunteers to consult the Freedom Network. The group connects donors and volunteers to local organizations specializing in helping survivors of sex trafficking with job training, legal and social services, and housing. They are a great service to connect volunteers and donors with organizations that help survivors.

2. Research organizations before you donate or volunteer

Research the group before you donate or volunteer (let alone join an event sponsored by a nonprofit). Of course, it takes a long time to research which group to help in a world where everyone is working a million scrambles. Sites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch make it easy for you. They rate groups on standards such as how much they spend on helping people versus executive salaries.

An extraordinary group is the Coalition for the Abolition of Slavery and Trafficking (or CAST). Charity Navigator gives it a “Give with Confidence” rating for good reason. Based in Los Angeles, CAST provides free legal assistance to survivors. They also create mentoring programs for survivors to help them find employment. They also run a shelter for survivors who are looking for a place to live.

Other groups to consult are homeless shelters and domestic violence organizations. Although they focus on helping homeless people find shelter, their missions often include helping survivors of sex trafficking. “Trafficking is, in terms of service delivery, just a line of funding,” D’Adamo says. “Your local immigration / refugee organization may have a trafficking program, or your local DV shelter may receive survivors of trafficking for services.”

3. Volunteer in shelters for domestic violence

It’s easy to write an organization a check and feel good about yourself, but to help survivors more, we need to work with them. Visit your local women’s shelter, homeless nonprofit or domestic violence survivors group and ask how you can help survivors of trafficking. When you volunteer, you may find that survivors of trafficking need help buying food, help applying for a new job, or moral support. And remember to always listen to survivors about what they need instead of making your own guesses.

Always listen to survivors about what they need instead of making your own assumptions.

As legally consenting pornographers who operate ethical businesses, we must help. On the one hand, we have a personal interest: volunteering reminds people that we are law-abiding citizens like them, not sex traffickers. But more importantly, as members in good standing of our local communities, we must help the survivors. That’s what you should do.

SEE ALSO:

OnlyFans didn’t mention ‘sex workers’ on Twitter until they started leaving

The public, not just sex workers, can take this same advice to support survivors of sex trafficking. Porn consumers can also find out where they watch porn online, choosing to visit sites that verify performers, guarantee their consent, and pay them for their work.

Not all pornographers are bad, and not all sex trafficking survivor organizations are bad. We need to help charities do a good job. They deserve it, just like the survivors they help.

A two-time winner of the AVN MILF Artist of the Year award, Cherie DeVille is the internet’s favorite mother-in-law, former presidential candidate and physiotherapist. She lives in Los Angeles.

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