Senator Kirk (IL) and Senator Feinstein (CA) recently introduced a bill (S. 2536) to the federal senate which would change requirements for placing adult advertisements, as well as record-keeping requirements for adult advertising websites.
The bill, titled the “Kirk-Feinstein Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act” can be found here. The bill would impact any individual who places an online ad for any adult service (fetish, stripping, body rub, escort, and adult film), as well as all websites that contain sections devoted to adult services, even those that do not charge for ad placement.
Summary of S. 2536
- Requires individuals placing ads to submit a valid government ID and telephone number.
- Requires all individuals placing ads, whether free or paid, to submit valid debit or credit card information.
- Prohibits payment with pre-paid cards, money orders, cash, or bitcoin.
- Requires ad websites to maintain records of advertisers’ identification, phone numbers and financial information for at least 7 years.
- Requires ad websites to share records with the attorneys’ general without a warrant or subpoena.
- Ad website owners and administrators that fail to comply with new requirements would be punished with between $250-300,000 in fines and up to 5 years in prison.
How the Bill Would Impact Our Communities
- Increase the vulnerability of adult workers to traffickers and third parties, increase street-based sex work: Requiring debit or credit cards and government IDs will bar the most vulnerable populations involved in the adult industry from using the web to work, thus forcing them into higher-risk street-based sex work or into the hands of traffickers, pimps and third parties.
- Increase government surveillance of adult workers: New record keeping requirements will effectively create a database of all individuals involved in the adult entertainment industry, and increase surveillance of our community.
- Compound discrimination against sex workers by the financial sector and reduce economic well-being and stability of adult workers: The financial sector has an awful track record of freezing, seizing and closing bank accounts of individuals who place adult advertisements using cards. Forcing individuals to use credit and debit cards to place legal adult advertisements will make individuals who place ads even more susceptible to these forms of institutional exclusion and violence, and would significantly reduce the economic well-being and stability of sex workers.
- Increase work costs for adult workers and reduce economic well-being and stability of adult workers: New record-keeping requirements for advertising websites will be expensive. It is unlikely these new costs would of ad websites; rather, it is very likely they would be passed on to adult workers who advertise on them.
SWOP-Chicago encourages community members and allies to take action:
- Call or Email your state senator, or visit his/her office to share your opinion about S. 2536.
Link to List of US Senators
SWOP-Chicago has drafted a sign-on letter, and we invite you to sign it as an individual or organization and share the link of facebook, twitter, or within your email lists.
We will collect organizational and individual sign-ons until Thursday, July 24 at 10AM.
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