The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has published a report on decriminalising sex work. The ACLU writes:
The ACLU's Research Brief, Is Sex Work Decriminalization the Answer? What the Research Tells Us, reviews
existing empirical research on the impacts of decriminalization -- and conversely criminalization -- of sex work to inform recommendations for policy and practice. The ACLU has a history of supporting the decriminalization of sex work, but as efforts for
U.S. legislative reform at the local, state, and federal level grow, examining the potential impacts of proposed policies is critical. Developed in consultation with local affiliates and sex worker organizers, this Brief provides an assessment of the
growing evidence base on the potential benefits and harms of the decriminalization of consensual sex work (including buyer-only criminalization and full criminalization) and concludes with specific recommendations for policymakers, law enforcement,
advocates, and researchers.
The report concludes with the following recommendations, starting with:
Decriminalize all consensual sex work, including prostitution, among adults. Fully decriminalize by eliminating all criminal penalties for sellers and buyers. Also remove all criminal penalties for youth who participate in sex
work, but not for adults who exploit youth. Decriminalization should include a retroactive component, permitting expungement of criminal records.
Eliminate unwanted police presence within the sex work community.
Support sex workers and listen to the recommendations of community organizers who lead sex work decriminalization groups and grassroots organizations.
Decline to prosecute charges related to consensual sex
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the 30-year-old advocacy group that has been a pioneer in defending digital civil liberties, sent a letter this week to the United States Senate, opposing the controversial EARN IT Act -- which the EFF says will
result in online censorship that will disproportionately impact marginalized communities, will jeopardize access to encrypted services, and will place at risk the prosecutions of the very abusers the law is meant to catch.
Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020, or EARN IT, is designed to roll back protections for online platforms under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Section 230 is widely considered the First
Amendment of the Internet. As AVN reported last month, the law is not only the backbone of open online communications, but for adult content online as well.
Efforts to roll back Section 230 protection will have a significant
adverse impact on the adult entertainment industry if passed, First Amendment attorney Lawrence Walters told AVN in August. Any change to Section 230 could result in restrictive content moderation rules or elimination of the platforms themselves.
Platforms would be required to earn the protections currently afforded by Section 230 by following a set of vaguely defined best practices to prevent illegal activities, specifically sex trafficking and Child Sex Abuse Material
(CSAM), if EARN IT passes.
Under EARN IT, states will be free to impose any liability standard they please on platforms, including holding platforms liable for CSAM they did not actually know was present on their services, EFF
warned in its letter to the Senate. Nothing in the bill would prevent a state from passing a law in the future holding a provider criminally responsible under a 'reckless' or 'negligence' standard.
In other words, under EARN IT,
state governments could punish online platforms for almost anything that could be broadly interpreted as CSAM or Sex trafficking, even bringing criminal charges against site operators. The dangers for the adult industry are clear if states are allowed to
define a wide range of sexual content as promoting sex trafficking.
But sex worker advocacy groups have also warned that the EARN IT law could lead to increased surveillance of workers in the sex industry. EFF also addresses the
surveillance threat in its letter to the Senate.
End-to-end encryption ensures the privacy and security of sensitive communications such that only the sender and receiver can view them, the group wrote. But the EARN IT Act
threatens to undermine and disincentivize providers from providing strong encryption.
The EFF compares EARN IT to a previous sex trafficking law, FOSTA/SESTA, which is the only law so far passed that actually curtails Section 230
protections, in cases when sites are deemed to promote online sex trafficking. But that law had the opposite effect from its stated intention.
Instead, it has forced sex workers, whether voluntarily engaging in sex work or forced
into sex trafficking against their wills, offline and into harm's way, EFF wrote. It has also chilled their online expression generally, including the sharing of health and safety information, and speech wholly unrelated to sex work.
In the letter, EFF urges the Senate not to fast track the EARN IT bill -- and to vote it down if or when it finally comes before the entire Senate. The bill passed through the Judiciary Commitee in July.
The operator of Bella's Hacienda Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada, has announced new procedures she will adopt once Governor Steve Sisolak gives the green light to reopen.
Madam Bella told AVN that her plan involves several key procedural changes,
including a plan to include COVID-19 testing as part of the weekly sex worker testing done at the bordello.
Madam Bella also will require customers to wear face coverings and everyone entering the establishment will be tested for elevated
temperatures. Hand washing and showers have always been a part of the business' cleanliness protocol, but Madam Bella will make showers prior to a session mandatory for additional precaution.
However the brothel will be somewhat scaled down with
only 8 ladies, about half the usual number.