FOSTA: A Transnational Disaster Especially for Marginalized Sex Workers


  • Angela Jones



The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) has caused immeasurable economic harm and compromises workers' safety and harm reduction practices. The law has had the most harmful effects on the most marginal sex workers—people of color, transgender and non-binary people, people with disabilities, and working-class sex workers. Further, while FOSTA is a U.S. law its harms reverberate worldwide. Empirical data already demonstrates the damages of FOSTA to sex workers. With draft bills proposing to study the law (S.3165 - SAFE SEX Workers Study Act), and pending legal challenges, scholars continuing to gather data can help demonstrate to the U.S. Congress that reliable evidence unequivocally shows that they should repeal FOSTA. There is a need for intersectional analysis that explores the uneven impact of FOSTA, especially its effects on transgender and non-binary sex workers, who, alongside Black, Indigenous, and Latinx, and disabled sex workers, are often at the highest levels of risk. In this article, drawing from 34 in-depth interviews with transmasculine and non-binary sex workers, expanding existing studies documenting the harms of FOSTA on sex workers, I provide empirical evidence showing how the law has adverse effects on the most marginal and that such results are not limited to the U.S.