Opinion | What We’re Going Wrong About Online Sex Work



This episode contains strong language.

The online content hosting platform OnlyFans announced in August that it would ban all “sexually explicit content” from its website. After a huge backlash from users, the company overturned that decision just six days later.

OnlyFans isn’t the only site that has come under fire for providing a platform for adult content. Pornhub and Backpage have been threatened with restrictions on child exploitation and allegations of human trafficking. The National Center for Sexual Exploitation filed a lawsuit against Twitter, accusing it of allowing and profiting from human trafficking.

But a large part of this conversation includes legal sex work and sex workers’ rights. The move to online work has enabled performing artists to have a direct line to their clients and the public. And with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, such websites have provided content creators with an opportunity to keep making money.

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In today’s episode, Jane Coaston speaks to two women who are well aware of how the sex industry works. Jamie Rosseland is an attorney and speaker for victims and survivors of human trafficking. And Cherie DeVille is a 10 year old porn veteran and a contributor to The Daily Beast.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available on the Times website by noon.)

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The Argument is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Sarah Geis and Alison Bruzek; Fact check by Kate Sinclair; Music and sound design by Isaac Jones; additional mix by Carole Sabouraud; Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.


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