(HOUSTON, Texas) -- Sex work, OnlyFans, exotic dancers, pornography, and prostitution: these terms are attention-grabbing for various reasons. Stories like “Texas to be first state to make buying sex a felony” catch readers’ interest and highlight how Texas plans to deal with human trafficking and sex slavery, but they leave out one key set of voices: active sex workers.
“Sex work is real work”
“There should be no punishment for consensual sex or sexual interactions between adults,” says one Houston-based OnlyFans creator. When asked what impact this law, which goes into effect on September 1, 2021, would have on sex work and sex workers in Houston, they had this to say.
“Sex workers are already punished by both the state and society as a whole. This will just further push these people into dangerous situations. . . . Sex work is real work, and punishing the oldest profession is just a virtue signal to evangelicals.”
“Forcing us to deal with shadier clients”
“The reason it is bad to punish sex buyers with felonies is because you are essentially putting sex workers such as myself and many others out of a job and forcing us to deal with shadier clients who are not law-abiding citizens,” says Haven Ash, another OnlyFans creator based in Texas. The fashion model and dancer feels she does not need to hide her identity.
“There is no question that due to these punishments, the rate at which people pay for sex will decrease however this is very unfair to sex workers who need to make a living,” she said when asked about the impact this would have on sex work and sex workers in Houston. “This will not have much of an impact on my OnlyFans [business]; however, it will affect many others around the area and people that I know. They will now be less likely to gain income.”
According to the OnlyFans website, OnlyFans has more than 1 million creators around the world and has paid out more than $3 billion to creators.
Lumping human trafficking and sex work together
On July 1, 2021, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised HB 1540’s passing.
“Texas is the first in the country to punish sex buyers with felonies, which is a substantial step towards curbing the demand for commercial sex,” Paxton said. “Human trafficking is modern day slavery – targeting vulnerable men, women and children in our communities. I commend our legislature for passing laws that fight this inexcusable offense.”
Paxton’s statement seemingly ties sex buyers and human trafficking together but may leave some wondering why consexual sex work is still being punished today.
“Other people have absolutely no right to tell me or any sex worker what we can and can't do with our bodies,” said Ash. “It's disgraceful that even in 2021, there are still people in government looking to punish sex workers trying to earn a living.”
As for the true impact this legislation will have on Houstonians, Texans, and sex workers and buyers, only time will tell.
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