Read the full article by Emma Garland at Vice.com

On July 4, YouTube banned an independent erotic film production company after it posted interviews with sex workers. In a blog post, feminist adult filmmaker, Erika Lust, wrote that her eponymous channel was removed after they uploaded their docuseries “In Conversation With Sex Workers,” in which sex workers discuss their experiences, social stigmas, relationships with clients, law enforcement, and the relationship between sex work and feminism.

Despite being non-explicit videos of people talking, YouTube terminated the channel, citing “violation of community guidelines.” The problem, YouTube claimed, wasn’t to do with sexual content but the links in the descriptions of the videos that drove traffic to Erika’s site, ErikaLust.com, which YouTube considers a porn site (even though it’s a hosting site for paid-for content, and therefore clean).

YouTube’s decision seems to be another result of FOSTA/SESTA. Signed into US law in April, FOSTA/SESTA is intended to curb sex trafficking by making websites liable for what users say and do on them. In addition to harming consensual sex workers while pushing sex trafficking further underground, the legislation’s broad language means that sites now seem to be over-censoring their users to ensure they’re not liable for anything problematic.

Needless to say, this affects the livelihoods of already vulnerable sex workers first and foremost. Additionally, sex bloggers and smaller, independent companies—like feminist, body-positive, and fetish sites—which rely on social media to attract traffic will struggle, while inherently misogynistic mainstream sites can afford to weather the storm.

[Sex workers are being forced out onto the streets to find clients. They’re losing online advertisements, bad date lists, online client screening, and their voice. Pimps are exploiting and abusing them, and bad clients are taking advantage of the situation. The bills are literally killing sex workers and nobody seems to care.]