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Bay Area Sex Workers Speak Out About Dangerous Conditions

Activists say Congress has targeted sex workers and curbed their rights while putting them at an increased risk of trafficking and violence.

By Veronica Irwin

…Dominatrix and sex-worker activist Ckiara Rose, who used her stage name for this interview, says she’s mainly turned to sites like Melbourne-based Switter to publicize herself and support her family. Mehreban says she uses background services like CheckMate that cost a total of about $40 per month to screen her clients’ legal history.

Ckiara Rose

“They know we basically don’t have a choice,” says Rose. “I know of many women who have to walk the streets because they can’t afford [advertising and background services].”

…In reaction to the silencing effect FOSTA/SESTA has on their speech, many activists are also fighting back simply by going public about their experiences in the industry through interviews and social media. “A lot more people have come out, and people are seeing that their daughters and sons and nieces and nephews are in this industry, whereas they didn’t know that before” says Ckiara Rose…

Rose adds, “Although there has been a big increase in violence against sex workers, because we’re being pushed out onto the streets, there is a pro to it: the activism is a lot stronger, and we’re coming out of hiding.”

If the courts rule in favor of activists and declare FOSTA/SESTA unconstitutional, sex workers might be able to once again use online forums to share information, advertise, and otherwise engage with the community. 

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