A Treatise for Those I Care About

by Jeph Johnson


I have several friends who are sex workers. Why I care about them is personal. That I care is what's important. If you don't care, perhaps it's time you do some deep self analysis. 


These people's lives are being impacted and their rights infringed upon dramatically. 


I would like to abolish the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (referred to as SESTA/FOSTA) which was carelessly passed into law in 2018.


This is because I want to allow those who work in the sex industry the freedom to access online resources to safely screen their clients and make secure financial transactions. 


For many sex workers the only alternative is to go back to the streets and fall prey to unvetted clients as well as abusive pimps who they must now rely on as a source for networking. Before SESTA/FOSTA this could be done more safely and independantly without the go-between. The transaction was a private matter between two consenting adults as it should be.


An online presence also helps make it easier for law enforcement to accurately identify and track more thoroughly the incidences of kidnapping, coerced slavery, underage and other non-consensual activities that pose the real danger. 


But instead FOSTA/SESTA has enslaved rather than empowered and despite its best intentions, its ramifications have been that it promotes exactly what it was intended to curtail: sex trafficking. 


Sex workers have limited online options to begin with, but SESTA/FOSTA disables and further curtails their ability to improvise with virtual performances in exchange for financial compensation. Due to outdated puritanical laws compounded by SESTA/FOSTA's impact, financial institutions are still reluctant to allow any such monetary exchanges.


Especially during this time of corona virus and the subsequent quarantine, sex workers are finding their revenue flow severely strained if not cut off entirely. 


Safe webcam shows and the opportunity to offer explicit content to those seeking such entertainment is vitally important to sex workers' livelihood.


There's always the risk of people meeting up, but financial instability increases that probability immensely which in turn puts everyone else at risk too.


Many of these same friends struggle with substance abuse and drug addiction. Some have anxiety issues for which the use of cannabis is a needed medicinal aid in their lives. Legal access to marijuana use is essential. When that access is impeded the stakes get more severe and dangerous harder drugs become more tempting.


For those who use intravenous drugs, to avoid the spread of AIDS through shared needles, I'd like them to be provided safer options. This is why I support the distribution of free needles and encourage the dissemination of information regarding needle exchange sites so the rigs may be disposed of safely. 


I would like our society to treat chemical dependency as a health care challenge rather than a legal issue. This will help purge our prison population, leaving it to house only the most dangerous of criminals. 


Substance abuse rehabilitation should be directed by our health care professionals not our law enforcement and legal system. Rehab does not work with a punishment consisting of "corrective" incarceration. Prison acts as a junior college for a career in drug dealing!


Sex work also eschews another elephant in the room: unplanned pregnancy. There also are too many unwanted, neglected, orphaned and abandoned children here in the United States. Many people rush into accepting the responsibility of child rearing long before they're ready, therefore I support sex ed and family planning programs that include free contraception in addition to affordable health care. And when I say "affordable" I mean FREE OF CHARGE to EVERYONE as a right not a privilege for the elite. By "affordable" I also mean well-managed without the influence of insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry's profit motive.  


I support the constitutional freedoms that provide options regarding everyone's reproductive health choices, personal sexual decisions and general well-being; in other words: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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