Essential Videos and Podcasts Covering Sex Work, SESTA/FOSTA and Backpage

sex worker rights
Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity, Saturday, June 11, 2016, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Sally T. Buck via Flickr; cropped slightly from original)
Front Page Confidential offers what it expects to be an ever-expanding list of important videos and podcasts covering Backpage, FOSTA/SESTA, sex work and related subjects.

A number of videos and podcasts have taken on the misguided narratives parroted by the mainstream media in reference to Backpage, FOSTA/SESTA, sex work and related subjects. Here follows an ever-expanding list of links to such productions.

1) “The War on Backpage Is a War on Sex Workers”: Reason documentary by Paul Detrick.  This 38-minute documentary is required viewing for anyone interested in Backpage, sex workers’ rights and FOSTA/SESTA.

2) “Why the Press Conflates Prostitution with Sex Trafficking—and Why That’s a Threat To Free Speech”: A Reason podcast on the flimsy case against pioneering alt-weekly newspapermen Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, featuring the work of crusading journalist Elizabeth Nolan Brown.

3) “Techdirt Podcast Episode 230: Backpage v. The Feds”: Two of the smartest journalists in the U.S., Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Techdirt’s Mike Masnick discuss the legal issues and dangers of the federal government’s attack on Backpage.

4) “Kamala Harris’ Dishonest Campaign To Destroy Backpage.com”: Reason explores how in 2016, then-California AG Kamala Harris ginned up a perp-walking spectacle for the press involving Backpage. The media circus was timed to help Harris’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate.

5) “Ashton Kutcher Helped Promote a Bogus Sex Trafficking Claim. Will We Ever Shake It?” Following on research done by Village Voice Media for a 2011 company-wide series on sex trafficking, Reason debunks one of the most resilient myths of the sex trafficking panic, that there are 100,000 to 300,000 children being sex trafficked in the U.S. at any given time. Actor Ashton Kutcher boosted this misinformation over major media outlets and via Twitter.

6) Whores on Film: Director Juliana Piccillo’s feature-length documentary on the ways sex workers are portrayed in cinema, from silent films to modern takes on sex work such as Tangerine and The Florida Project.

7) “No More Safe Harbor”: A brilliant episode from Gimlet Media’s /reply all/ podcast on SESTA/FOSTA and the harm done to sex workers by this misguided federal law and by lawmakers’ push for it.

8) “You’re Wrong About . . . Human Trafficking”: Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall of the “You’re Wrong About…” podcast dive deep into the bad faith arguments and urban legends surrounding the moral panic of sex trafficking. Engrossing and worth listening to more than once.

9) “Jinx the Anarchist Sex Worker Goes to Washington”:Reason video about sex workers lobbying Congress on why SESTA/FOSTA is a bad law. Courageous sex workers put a face on their profession and turn the tables on lawmakers.

10) “This anti-sex trafficking law could end internet freedom“: A Vox report on the FOSTA/SESTA law and its impact on sex workers and the internet.

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About Stephen Lemons

Stephen Lemons is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering everything from government corruption to white-supremacist gangs. In addition to Front Page Confidential, his work has appeared in Phoenix New Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon.com, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report magazine.

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