Stop Unnecessary Censorship of Sex Workers On Tik Tok

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Tik Tok is a lip synch platform that has been growing in popularity; for many groups of people it has helped foster community and speak out about inequalities and discrimination they experience. Sex workers are no different in that sense; we have grown a community of our own. We seek to educate the public on our job and the realities of what we experience; how we navigate the world in an industry that is frowned upon and often times disregarded by society.

Recently, sex workers have come under fire by social media platforms. Instagram started in November of 2020, and now Tik Tok is following in their footsteps. In the new Tik Tok terms of service, which will be integrated on December 20th, 2020, it has specifically targeted sex workers in their promotion of their other platforms in order to generate income using the followings they have gained through Tik Tok.

The new guidelines state that Tik Tok creators can not, "upload, stream or share content that depicts, promotes, or glorifies sexual solicitation, including offering or asking for sexual partners, sexual chats or imagery, sexual services, premium sexual content or sexcamming."

Numerous sex workers have been "deplatformed" and have had their accounts deleted; many times also having videos taken down that have no mention their work.

As sex workers, we seek to educate the public on the realities of our jobs. We wish to be seen as people, we wish for our job not to dehumanize us in the publics eye, and we wish not to be put down. We wish not to have all the work we've put into growing our platforms thrown away. We wish for our work to be normalized so that stigmatization around sex work can be debunked and we can let the world know what we are; people. People with a job that helps put food on our tables, keep roofs over ours and our families head, and create futures for ourselves.

On a platform with so much reach, why are we discarded after our stories are used for entertainment and help the app generate income? Why can a platform benefit off of our work and we can not? 

There is a common narrative in society of sex workers stories being used to market and make money, while simultaneously blocking us out from the conversation or the revenue it generates. Sex workers are continually ignored, and this brings great harm to us. By leaving us out of these conversations, stigma grows and we are left to try and mend the harm done. We are left at greater risk than before, because we were not allowed to use our voices about our own community.

Sex workers are a valid part of any community and sex work offers work to those who can not maintain the stressors of an everyday nine to five job. Sex workers on Tik Tok have created inclusive spaces, worked to educate those around us, and take care of our community; we want other sex workers to know that they are not alone. We want other sex workers to know that they are valid and that there are other people out there who know what they are going through. 

The goal of this petition is to remove the guidelines that very specifically target sex workers on Tik Tok. We want to be able to advertise our other platforms without facing backlash or consequence for using the followings we have worked for to generate income for ourselves. 

Sex workers are members of your community; we're the people in line behind you at the grocery store, we're the parents dropping our kids off at school, we're your next door neighbor. We're people, and we are people who deserve as much respect and consideration as anyone else.

Please stand with us, please use your voice to help us be heard, please use the power you have to help a community who is silenced by those who use us for profit. Sex workers hold space for all people, from all walks of life; please hold space for us and help us fight to be seen as valid members of society.

Thank you.