FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, may have originally began with it’s heart in the right place. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that we, as non-trafficked individuals, find it appalling and abhorrent that anyone would coerce anyone else into selling services they don’t want to sell. #nayfosta
We can all agree that people who are working in this industry against their own wills should be helped. They should be aided. And perhaps in conversations prior to the actual legislation finalization, this is what those lawmakers intended. #nayfosta
However, due to the vague language of FOSTA, there are very real and very dangerous impacts that those of us working of our own volition are dealing with. Those of us who rely and depend on this work to feed ourselves, house our families, pay our bills, and live life as best we can under capitalism. For those of us who make a willing living via sex work, FOSTA has been devastating. It’s made access to advertising platforms a nightmare, sent people who were safely working indoors back to the streets, and forced sex workers to make decisions that shouldn’t have to be made.
Sex work is real work. Sex work is a profession. Sex work can even, for some, be a calling.
What I’m asking here is no small feat. It will require work and effort on a part of the entire sex work community, both clients and providers alike. It will take work, but if we do this correctly, we have the potential to change the way we engage with one another online forever. This is not a catch-all solution; no solution is. But what this solution provides is the democratization of tech knowledge and search engine optimization theories that are accessible to other businesses and folks with know-how, and even accessible to us via social media.
You hashtag Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Now it’s time to hashtag your website.
#NayFOSTA is a unique hashtag that no one has used yet. It’s not cataloged by any search engine, but it could be. Search engines catalog hashtags and return results on them for search queries.
We need to implement this system as a way to be seen. We can show that we support sex work as real work, as a real choice. FOSTA states that there’s no difference between someone working in the sex trade of their own volition, and one who’s trafficked. We know better. People need to work, and this work would be made easier if we could facilitate easy connections between clients and providers.
I’m asking you all to start hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, preferably within a blog post. There will be other methodologies to do this too, mainly through website code and metadata, the systems of which I’ll explain as time goes on. By hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, what you’re doing is including your website to be cataloged, by Google, for that hashtag.
If every escort in the world with a free or paid website did this, Google would become the biggest escort directory in the world. It would bypass advertising platforms. It would bypass any kind of advertising middle-man, and any website, be it free or paid, could utilize this hashtag.
Incorporating #NayFOSTA with other descriptor hashtags like #Chicago, #BBW, #Blonde, etcetera, would allow clients to further refine their searches and more easily find what they’re looking for.
This little bit of backend work, which I’m going to lead you through, will solve the main issue of what could have been a solid piece of legislation. #NayFOSTA will simultaneously support the anti-trafficking sentiments of the legislation, identify us as non-trafficked workers engaging in the market of our own volition, and make it so our clients can do the same.
I hope that you’ll join me in creating the movement for undertaking.