I. Was. A. Sex. Worker.
I am not ashamed of this. I fulfilled a niche market and managed to keep the lights on and the oil filed in my home while my (now ex) husband drank away our funds. I supported various people in vulnerable parts of their lives and made money doing it. It was exhausting, sometimes exhilarating, always work. I was a web cam model. For years.
I was "safe" because I was separated from the client by cyberspace. I worked out of my basement and on my own terms and with my own hours. I blocked the people that offended me, gritted my teeth through the ones I didn't really enjoy, and enthusiastically participated with a select few. Some of what I experienced while participating in sex work online helped me get the confidence to leave my abusive husband. Some of the people I met have become long term friends. It was ultimately a positive experience. And one I have walked away from.
There are many people however who cannot walk away from sex work, and aren't "lucky" enough to work exclusively online. These are the (predominately women) who are meeting men in hotel rooms and back alleys and anywhere else, filling a need that we demonize in this country.
SESTA and FOSTA are acts that remove the ability for sex workers to use websites to screen clients. There's much more involved than that but basically, it strips websites of the ability to protect sex workers in this country under the guise of preventing trafficking. The thing is, there's zero alternative for the adult, consenting, sex worker, to protect themselves.
This country has a completely twisted relationship with sexuality. Yes, trafficking of people for sex is a problem, but removing the ability of sex workers to vet their john online isn't the answer.
I'm literally fuming right now and less than coherent than I want to be. Sex work is a thing. It will always be a thing. Women and men will always find their way into sex work and have plenty of clients. Children and those being abused need to be protected, obviously. There needs to be more honest and open awareness of what sex work can add to a society.