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ErikaG @egonz15
, 25 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
I finally have some energy after my surgery to talk a little bit more about #FOFSTA/#SESTA. Today, I want to talk to you about why a lot of anti-trafficking agencies were not able to say much against the acts publicly.
I don't know how many of you know that a lot of the federal #humantrafficking funding is tied in some weird political crap. While generally a bipartisan issue, there is a lot of conservative control of the way funding gets distributed.
One of the biggest issues with federal funding is that you have to sign an agreement not to promote engagement in prostitution or promote the legalization in prostitution. Not to be confused with the decriminalization of prostitution.
Now, this anti-prostitution pledge that agencies are forced to sign is a great way to silence agencies from talking about many issues that may negatively effect sex workers.
Agencies who have been in the field for a long time actually doing direct victim service work really know that legislation that negatively effects sex workers, negatively effects all victims of #humantrafficking. But....
Because of the stupid pledge, they have to be very careful in the way they talk about anything that is even prostitution-adjacent. For example, lets talk about criminal re-entry.
Criminal re-entry in #humantrafficking looks like making sure victims who are forced to commit crimes by their traffickers are not held liable for the crimes. So what it does is essentially retroactively wipes their record clean as though the crime never took place to begin with.
Seems non-controversial right? There is a whole other thread that I can get into as to why it still ends up being controversial, but for now, let me focus on how anti-trafficking agencies can talk about this criminal re-entry in relation to sex work.
If your agency accidentally says that this is related to "decriminalization of sex work" your agency sure as hell is going to get a call from your federal funder asking if you are encouraging legalization of sex work with your federal $
It sounds crazy and extreme, and that's because it is. Even prior to the change in administration, federal funders who have more conservative leads are scouring webpages and trainings to make sure there is no encouragement of the legalization of sex work.
In multiple cases, agencies have been threatened with defunding should they even mention decriminalization of sex work. Again - that is distinct from the advocacy of legalization of sex work.
Why does this matter as it pertains to #SESTA/#FOSTA? Because federal funding for trafficking survivors is already extremely limited. While its known that #humantrafficking is one of the largest profit criminal enterprises it receives .0001% of government funding
And unfortunately, agencies who are operating with this federal funding are operating at 30-50% federal funding. Which means, if this funding pot gets revoked, the agency goes under.
Agencies who have been especially loud about #SESTA/#FOSTA aren't federally funded or are federally funded at a much smaller percentage.
It is for this reason that many agencies decided to create the @FreedomNetUSA so that they would have an outlet to be able to put their voice without hurting the services they are providing for actual victims of trafficking.
If you look at the @FreedomNetUSA's website. They have put together numerous resources about the importance of sex worker rights as it relates to human trafficking: freedomnetworkusa.org/app/uploads/20….
All the members of the @FreedomNetUSA agree to these policies before they can even become a member. Meaning that the network that is created is one that true believes in human rights and looks at the larger picture of human trafficking.
While I understand the frustration from a lot of #Sexworkers on why more agencies didn't come forward, it's not because they haven't been burned before or threatened to have money taken away from victims. This is a difficult balance for agencies to deal with.
I am completely deflated by the fact that #SESTA passed. But I'm also not surprised. This is a continuation of agencies who don't listen to those of us who are on the ground working every day with victims of human trafficking.
Even worse, they don't listen to people who are negatively effected like #sexworkers because at the end of the day, these agencies are actually anti-sex and not anti-human trafficking.
If they were anti-human trafficking agencies, they'd start looking at the issues that negatively increase the "supply" for trafficking not the demand. That means looking at poverty, criminal justice reform, and all the other harder things that would actually decrease trafficking.
I mean, this phenomenon that people think that all sex work is trafficking is astounding. Did you see this story? theintercept.com/2018/03/24/dem….
Sex work ≠ trafficking. It's pretty straight forward. And in case you're worried about not being able to identify enough victims. The actual definition of human trafficking is pretty broad. It gives a lot of flexibility in identification.
Sex workers are human beings and are entitled to human rights. They're not punchlines or jokes. They are people. And they have been some of the best allies in the fight against #humantrafficking
Also I don't know why I always say FOFSTA instead of FOSTA. It's all crap either way
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