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Article

Anti-Trafficking in the Time of FOSTA/SESTA: Networked Moral Gentrification and Sexual Humanitarian Creep

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Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA
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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
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Faculty of Social Sciences, Division of General Education, Berkeley College, New York, NY 10017, USA
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School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
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Department of Criminology and Sociology, Kingston University, London KT1 2EE, UK
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Department of Sociology, LAMES, Aix-Marseille University, 13007 Marseille, France
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Reframe Health and Justice, Washington, DC 20002, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nigel Parton
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020058
Received: 16 December 2020 / Revised: 25 January 2021 / Accepted: 27 January 2021 / Published: 8 February 2021
Globally, sex workers have highlighted the harms that accompany anti-prostitution efforts advanced via anti-trafficking policy, and there is a growing body of social science research that has emerged documenting how anti-trafficking efforts contribute to carceral and sexual humanitarian interventions. Yet mounting evidence on the harms of anti-trafficking policies has done little to quell the passage of more laws, including policies aimed at stopping sexual exploitation facilitated by technology. The 2018 passage of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the corresponding Senate bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), is a case study in how efforts to curb sexual exploitation online actually heighten vulnerabilities for the people they purport to protect. Drawing on 34 months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with sex workers and trafficked persons (n = 58) and key informants (n = 20) in New York and Los Angeles, we analyze FOSTA/SESTA and its harmful effects as a launchpad to more broadly explore how technology, criminalization, shifting governance arrangements, and conservative moralities cohere to exacerbate sex workers’ vulnerability. View Full-Text
Keywords: sex work; technology; migration; FOSTA/SESTA; anti-trafficking; sexual humanitarianism; networked governance; moral gentrification; shadow carceral innovations; surveillance sex work; technology; migration; FOSTA/SESTA; anti-trafficking; sexual humanitarianism; networked governance; moral gentrification; shadow carceral innovations; surveillance
MDPI and ACS Style

Musto, J.; Fehrenbacher, A.E.; Hoefinger, H.; Mai, N.; Macioti, P.G.; Bennachie, C.; Giametta, C.; D’Adamo, K. Anti-Trafficking in the Time of FOSTA/SESTA: Networked Moral Gentrification and Sexual Humanitarian Creep. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020058

AMA Style

Musto J, Fehrenbacher AE, Hoefinger H, Mai N, Macioti PG, Bennachie C, Giametta C, D’Adamo K. Anti-Trafficking in the Time of FOSTA/SESTA: Networked Moral Gentrification and Sexual Humanitarian Creep. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(2):58. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020058

Chicago/Turabian Style

Musto, Jennifer, Anne E. Fehrenbacher, Heidi Hoefinger, Nicola Mai, P. G. Macioti, Calum Bennachie, Calogero Giametta, and Kate D’Adamo. 2021. "Anti-Trafficking in the Time of FOSTA/SESTA: Networked Moral Gentrification and Sexual Humanitarian Creep" Social Sciences 10, no. 2: 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020058

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