After SESTA's passage in March, you would have thought the world was ending. Models and photographers across the board claimed their lives would be ruined and the modeling industry as we knew it would cease to exist. Sex workers said it would literally kill them.
Yvonne Ambrose, whose 16 year old daughter was murdered after being prostituted on Backpage.com, was present as the legislation was signed. This was soon after 7 executives for Backpage were arrested on a 93 count indictment for facilitating prostitution and laundering millions of dollars in profits. Teenage girls were sold for sex and murdered, an unforeseen consequence of the Communications Decency Act, which protected website hosts, regardless if you were a scumbag pimp or not.
SESTA gave the families of these victims closure. It gave prosecutors the tools they need to make sure no online business can follow in Backpage's footsteps. SESTA did exactly what it is named for - Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers.
Sex workers everywhere shouted that they would not be safe under the bill; I wonder if their pimps told them to say that? Hate to burst your bubble sweetie, but you will never be completely safe as an illegal prostitute. If a man is willing to pay you for sex, it follows that his moral compass is compromised. If a man cannot abide by "thou shall not commit adultery" or "thou shall not pay women for sex" what's to stop him from abiding by "thou shall not kill"? Additionally, if a man is willing to break one law (paying you for sex), what's to stop him from breaking another (murdering you)?
Let's be honest, protesting that a new law will make it more difficult to break the law is downright ludicrous. If you think prostitution should be legal, that's your prerogative, but you don't have to enable degenerate pimps to achieve your goal. You want effective activism? Try "Feminists for Escort Legalization and Liberation from Pimps"! Prosecuting the middle man - AKA the dirtbag pimps - is a good thing. Pimps do not want prostitution to be legal. If prostitution were legal, you wouldn't need your pimp, and he would have to find some other way to be a greedy deviant pig.
But it wasn't just sex workers uniting against FOSTA. Claims that this legislation was "taking a massive toll on the modeling industry" and that you could spend 10 years in prison for sharing nude photos on the internet, are not only absurd - they are wildly selfish. Opponents of the bill said "But one wouldn’t charge a hotel with a crime if a prostitute was soliciting on their property, right? If this metaphor were a reality in the physical world, hotels would likely be enforcing dress codes punishable by jail time. That doesn’t make sense, does it?".
No, it doesn't make sense. Hotels already enforce prostitution laws. If a hotel reasonably suspects illegal prostitution activity on its premises, it will kick you out. Otherwise, it's called a brothel, which are illegal in almost every state. Brothel owners are prosecuted and convicted of knowingly participating in prostitution, just like the slimeballs from Backpage!
I'm going to cut right to the chase. Freelance models opposing FOSTA-SESTA was no more than a selfish agenda born out of the paranoia that they would be unable to continue to sell borderline erotic content on the mostly unregulated pay site, Patreon. Models rallied to convince photographers that portfolio and image sharing websites would be shut down, unless they stopped the discriminatory legislation. Suddenly, models who had previously expressed disdain for the pornography industry became the loudest supporters of sex workers. Some even claimed that they themselves are sex workers, despite not having sex for work.
The truth is, the federal government does not give two shits about your photos of naked models staring out windows, soaking in milk baths, hugging pillows, or dancing on train tracks, provided they are of legal age. Photographers who have already been checking IDs and filing 2257s for years (like they should have been) have absolutely nothing to be concerned about! But if you're a fauxtographer who found his "models" in the personals section of Craigslist, you might be worried!