Controversial sex trafficking bill
The House of Representatives recently passed S. 1693, The SESTA bill, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017. It’s a big deal and poses a threat to the livelihood of all professional models who reside and do business in the United States.
Is sex trafficking the same thing as paid, consensual companionship?
Hardly. So where is the crossover and how will these bills affect individual escorts?
It’s about platforms, not individuals
SESTA/FOSTA laws place legal responsibility for sex work interactions on platform holders (think Craig’s List, Reddit, The Erotic Review, Eros) rather than individual users. FOSTA subjects websites to criminal and civil liability when users unlawfully misuse online personal ads. For years these platforms have been immune to legal responsibility for what their users do either within the platforms or as a result of using the platforms. Rather than assume the legal risk, some platforms are shutting down functionality entirely.
These bills pose a chilling effect filled with uncertainty
Wikipedia defines sex trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation and sexual slavery. Sexual exploitation is based upon the interaction between a trafficker selling a victim to customers wherein the victim performs sexual services. Sex trafficking crimes include child sex tourism, domestic minor sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children, and prostitution.
Nothing in this definition of sex trafficking talks about consensual companionship. But is there an overlap between the two that will adversely impact the adult companionship industry? What will affect the professional entertainment industry is how adult-related forums choose to react to these laws. As in the case with Craig’s List, it became a question of ‘better safe than sorry’ as it could become for other forums. And that my friends, is where our concern comes into play.
The fate of Squarespace and Wix
Squarespace has relaxed their terms and conditions with regard to allowing adult-oriented websites. A few years ago, their TOS prohibited adult content but I never heard of them taking any action by taking down models’ websites. However, Squarespace servers are located in the United States – not where any sensual entertainer website longs to be after the passing of SESTA. I submitted a query to the folks at Squarespace asking about their position in this matter. Never heard back.
Wix’s headquarters are located in Tel Aviv, Israel with servers worldwide. While their terms and conditions are not quite as relaxed as those of Square Space, there is some language that could allow for termination of any escort website, if they see fit. At least, that’s my interpretation.
WordPress development is my favorite
This development platform allows mature content but within certain parameters that if violated could qualify a site to be shut down. If your site was recently shut down, it could be that the site violated these guidelines and probably could have been avoided. If your website or blog contain explicit content or imagery, be sure the site is marked as ‘mature’ and it will be excluded from public areas within the environment. Now more than ever, it’s best to stay away from images and language that could be construed as nasty, dirty or raunchy.
The United States has jurisdiction over your domain
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) oversees namespaces and manages internet protocol – in a nutshell. The United States has jurisdiction over these domains: .com, .biz, .org, .net. As long as your website URL ends with any of the aforementioned, it could be at risk under the SESTA/FOSTA laws. There is a lot more on this topic but I’m going to keep it simple.
In light of SESTA/FOSTA we might start to see more reaction in the upcoming months
Who’s to say that at any given time forums, U.S. located internet service providers, website builders or development platforms won’t change their terms and conditions and ban escorts and companions from their use?
What Elegant Copywriting, Consulting and Design, DC is doing to protect client websites
In the world of adult entertainment, the landscape is ever-changing. We must all keep up with the times and stay ahead of the curve if we are to survive. Go to THIS ARTICLE to learn about our proactive changes in light of SESTA/FOSTA that will safeguard your entertainment business and keep you afloat!
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This post was originally published on Elegant Copywriting, Consulting and Design