WASHINGTON — A group led by prestigious free speech and sexual expression organizations suing the U.S. government to block enforcement of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) appeared this morning at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to ask for a reversal of a district court judge’s decision to dismiss their case.
Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Internet Archive, Human Rights Watch and individuals Alex Andrews and Eric Koszyk are the plaintiffs, or “appellants,” questioning the constitutional status of the controversial FOSTA legislation.
The legislation, also known as SESTA-FOSTA, was drafted by religiously motivated Midwestern Republicans and sold to Democratic members of Congress — most famously by SWEL (Sex Worker Exclusionary Liberal) Senator Kamala Harris — as an anti-human trafficking measure.
In fact, since Donald Trump signed it into law in April 2018, FOSTA has had null-to-negative effect in the fight against actual human trafficking in the U.S. It has largely been used by law enforcement to target defunct online classifieds platform Backpage.com, mom-and-pop massage parlors and now, reportedly, Europe-based webmasters of sites where escorts ply their trade.
According to Woodhull Freedom Foundation, FOSTA “expansively criminalizes online speech related to sex work and removes important protections for online intermediaries.”