Read the full article by Michael French at

When the “allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” better known as FOSTA, passed the United States House of Representatives in February, only 24 reps voted against it, 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats. But if an insurgent but well-financed Democratic candidate in New York City succeeds in his bid to oust his longtime incumbent opponent, there will be one more voice of opposition to the law that sex workers say does little to curb illegal human trafficking—but has done a lot to make their own lives more dangerous.

Suraj Patel, a 34-year-old New York University business ethics professor and former Barack Obama campaign worker, will run against 72-year-old Democratic Party stalwart Carolyn Maloney, who has held a congressional seat since 1993, after serving on the New York City Council for a decade.

Maloney has a solid record of left-liberal voting in Congress. The site, which uses empirical data to evaluate office-holders’ political ideologies, rates Maloney a “hard core liberal,” with a voting record only slightly to the right of Bernie Sanders.

But Maloney took a strong stand in favor of FOSTA (for the record, Sanders also supported the Senate version of the bill), and that has alienated her from the sex worker community, according to New York sex worker-rights advocate Lola Balcon.

Though Patel initially took no position on the FOSTA law, after lobbying by Balcon and others he quickly formed a strong anti-FOSTA position—one that he spelled out to an approving crowd of about 200 New York sex workers and their supporters at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn recently.

Patel also made his views public in a blog post to the VICE-owned platform Broadly on May 21.

The New York state congressional primary election is set for next Tuesday, June 26.