Without the time or resources to build a whole new network from scratch, the group turned to Mastodon.
Although ostensibly aimed at sex trafficking prevention, FOSTA’s reduction of legal protections for websites is having disastrous consequences for sex workers.
“Word [has] spread pretty quickly to other providers,” she recalls.
“Obviously we were excited to talk about it.” Buffy says she joined because of the recent updates to many sites’ terms of service that would make her profile as a sex worker bannable.
Faced with the new potential for litigation, many websites are removing any content or avenues that could possibly violate FOSTA.
Rather than rely on a single flagship site, however, it functions through a series of networks called instances.“Those that are impoverished, those that are running away from abusive partners, those that are actively trying to get out of really bad situations, especially black, trans street workers,” N’jaila Rhee, an educator and sex worker who hosts The Cuntcast Podcast, tells .“They’re now cut off from a means of elevating themselves into a safer workspace.” Switter, which uses a domain hosted in Austria, offers a workaround to this US legislation.“Sex work is how I pay my rent, how I pay my bills, how I feed myself and my pets.” Although she says she’s able to stay afloat for now, she has concerns about the long-term sustainability of her profession if she’s kept offline.Buffy learned about Switter through a group chat that acts as a safe space for providers in her area to talk.Rhee, who has yet to join Switter, points out that many alternative sites for sex workers charge expensive fees to place ads.“Somebody who is doing sex work to get by and is in dire straits does not have 0 to place an ad,” Rhee says.“Losing these platforms means there is a much higher chance of ending up in a potentially life-threatening situation.” One escort, Buffy, tells that it’s hard to pinpoint one single thing that’s currently at stake in the wake of FOSTA’s passing.“The reality of it is, my career and my entire life are in jeopardy because of this bill,” she says.That is incredibly valuable right now.” Although she doesn’t consider it a permanent solution to her booking needs, it’s a place to continue her work for now.“I am simply keeping my eyes and ears open and paying attention to where others are going,” she says.