Photos: Sex Workers call out Kamala Harris — “EARN IT is SESTA/FOSTA 2.0!”

Posted September 14, 2020, 5:31 PM

Sex workers rally against the EARN IT act, calling it SESTA/FOSTA 2.0

Sex workers and supporters braved the hazardous air to project their message on Oakland City Hall last night, specifically calling out Senator Kamala Harris for voting to advance the EARN IT Act to the Senate floor. The bill threatens Internet freedom and the safety of sex workers while failing the issues it claims to address.

Sex workers brave the air at Oakland City Hall. Photo by Cammy Leone.

Last night, Oakland City Hall lit up with messages protesting the EARN IT Act while sex workers donned respirators and took to the square. Insiders have told Fight for the Future that the bill’s sponsors may try to rush the bill through the Senate this week. At the center of Bay Area sex worker’s ire was Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who voted to pass the EARN IT act out of committee and toward passage.

The protest, organized by sex worker advocacy organizations Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS) and Hacking // Hustling, as well as digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future highlighted the harms the bill would cause to sex workers.

"The internet has made sex work safer. The Earn It Act threatens sex workers and survivors by taking away our online platforms. We use the internet to connect with community, get support, and protect ourselves. This bill does nothing to prevent trafficking, while taking away our biggest safety tool," said Maxine Holloway, a Bay Area sex worker and advocate who helped organize the action with BAWS.

Digital rights experts characterize the EARN IT Act as SESTA/FOSTA 2.0, two purported anti-trafficking bills that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have introduced bills to investigate the negative impacts of as a first step toward a possible repeal.

"The devastation that happened after Backpage was seized and SESTA/FOSTA passed was swift and widespread. Two years later, many sex workers are still trying to economically recover. We saw increases in client violence, predatory behavior, and no one can say that anti-trafficking efforts improved. Passing EARN IT without even fully understanding the failures of SESTA/FOSTA is negligent at best and knowingly exacerbating violence at worst," said Kate D’Adamo, a sex worker advocate with Hacking // Hustling.

Sex workers and advocates working against the EARN IT Act are available for comment. Contact lia@fightforthefuture.org for more info or high-res photos available to the press. Thank you to A.E. Marling for the projections.

All photos featured in this post are authorized for use in coverage of this action.

Photo by George Barahona
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by @RubyRiotsModel
Photo by @bellicapax
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by Cammy Leone
Photo by George Barahona
Photo by George Barahona
Photo by George Barahona