SESTA-FOSTA. Have you heard of it? Please Google it, it's kind of important right now.
Discliamer: I'm not a sex worker. I'm not directly affected by SESTA-FOSTA.
My work is professional cuddling. And I bet most of you probably thought this at one point but never had it in you to ask me personally. But I used to get sex requests from clients a LOT when I first started (hardly ever now thanks to my personal branding).
For nearly a year and a half before I went on my own, I worked for a professional cuddling company that did not screen clients and had horrible branding and marketing practices. They got lots of leads, but they weren't always good quality leads.
Some of these requested that I do sexual acts with them instead of the requested cuddling we advertise. They requested that it would be "separate" work from cuddling. They were offering me hundreds of dollars an hour to sleep naked, to give oral, to provide dominatrix services... Not once have I taken on these services. I personally feel it contradictory to do so alongside professional cuddling, and I'm just not comfortable giving that service. These are my personal morals.
I know of professional cuddlers that also do sex work and they separate their businesses so their cuddle clients don't get sexual services. Not every cuddler is also a sex worker. Those are very, VERY separate hats.
Now, this law has shut down virtually every site sex workers used. The law was meant to protect those that are being trafficked, but it also affects those that do this work voluntarily because they can't get another job. It now means they can't screen their clients like they used to be able to (which, that sucks! If I couldn't vet my clients I couldn't do my work safely). After reading some threads from sex workers, these are people you see every day.
Some are a race that is discriminated against. Some are disabled. Some have mental illnesses. Some have chronic illnesses that don't allow them to work regularly. Some are college students that have no parental safety net. Some are trans.
For these people, sex work was their livelihood. It was how they afforded their medical care. It was how they paid their rent. It was how they were able to save in an economy that didn't value them. They were able to make ends meet through sex work. And now it just got made a lot less safe because they can't find or vet clients on the internet.
Many may turn to professional cuddling. And they may be damn good cuddlers! I sure hope so. Based off of the various threads I've seen there's some brilliant sex workers rights advocates among them that are fucking great at screening and setting boundaries as sex workers, and I'd LOVE to see that get transferred over into professional cuddling more. It's what I've been advocating more for and working on over the past year.
What I worry about is the lack of training resources available right now for cuddlers across the board. I worry about some of the poorly-marketed companies that are brazen with leads asking for sexual services instead of cuddling taking advantage of these ex-sex workers. I worry for the people that are trying to make ends meet now that they can't do as much sex work. I worry for the people that will take the offer from cuddle clients to give a blowjob for a couple hundred because if they don't they might get evicted.
I don't blame them for that. They need to survive. But it will mean all the hard work many in my industry have done to desexualize cuddling may begin to get reversed because the lines may get blurred again.
Sex work is real work. There are many people that do this work willingly. They are from various backgrounds, and they have spoken several times to let them do their work and let them live (because this law is literally killing them). Letting sex work exist on its own platforms on the internet is better and safer not just for sex workers, but for your friendly neighborhood cuddlers like me. And for you. And ultimately, for everyone.