Publicly shaming clients for soliciting sex, and attempting to reduce demand for sex work, will only make it harder for workers to screen for bad dates, experts told me. Screening dates usually involves giving a provider personal information—something clients might be less willing to do if they’re worried about ending up on a database.“When you make clients afraid, it becomes harder to screen out predators,” Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for advocacy group Decriminalize Sex Work told me in a phone call. “It becomes impossible to tell the difference between somebody who is scared and somebody who is scary.”Now that the bills have passed, they’re headed for Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s desk to be signed into law. I’ve reached out to co-sponsor Florida Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, and DeSantis, and will update if I hear back.Like the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which passed last year and immediately started hurting sex workers, this bill is written under the guise of combating human trafficking.
“It becomes impossible to tell the difference between somebody who is scared and somebody who is scary.”
According to all of the sex workers and activists I spoke to about this bill, trying to lower demand by publicly shaming clients is not going to stop sex work, but it will make it more dangerous. Some of the repercussions for lowered demand within an already criminalized industry include being more likely to work longer, more dangerous hours; being more likely to be pressured into acts they don’t want (like being bullied into not using a condom); taking on clients they are uneasy about, or unable to properly screen; and being pushed back into homelessness, substance abuse, or abusive relationships with partners or managers out of need.
"If the representatives aren’t listening to the people the laws are going to affect, what are they doing in that position"