Australian sex workers are concerned about the fallout of new American legislation which restricts the industry's ability to operate online.
Earlier this year, the US Senate passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) which holds website owners accountable for acts of sex trafficking that occur through third parties by enabling victims and state attorneys to file lawsuits against sites involved.
Critics of the legislation say the bill fails to differentiate sex trafficking and consensual sex work and, as a result, the legislation has endangered the livelihoods of thousands of sex workers in the U.S and around the world including Australia.
"If you read the legislation it’s very wide; it’s ill-defined and a sort of shock and awe legislation," according to Chief Executive Officer and male sex worker Cameron Cox of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP).
"It’s basically wanting people to do a lot of impossible things to stay in business or go to jail for 25 years. So websites like Craigslist are just pulling out of the market entirely rather than take the risk," Mr Cox said.
This sort of legislation only drives trafficking way underground where law enforcement will never find them
While the legislation was enacted in the U.S, its expected sex workers will be impacted globally.
Female sex worker and social media influencer Tilly Lawless said the legislation would eventually effect sex workers around the world.
"There are going to be so many more ramifications that I can’t even imagine right now. I mourn this day.”
President of the United States Donald Trump praised it as "a great piece of legislation, and it’s really going to make a difference” when signing the bill into law, referring to those who could now seek justice in the fight against online sex trafficking.
Critics claim the laws will catch legitimate sex workers advertising online in the net.
“This sort of legislation only drives trafficking way underground where law enforcement will never find them,” Mr Cox said.
"Sex workers have been pushed into smaller and smaller spaces and yet we're supposed to abide by good practice, report trafficking, keep our sexual health really high while we get run out of business and starve to death. People in the U.S are asking the question, why does the government want to kill sex workers?" he said.
"The only positive thing that has come out of this legislation is that we have seen sex workers pull together to support one another in light of this terrible legislation."