FOSTA-SESTA & Backpage

The Impact of SESTA/FOSTA and the Removal of Backpage on Sex Worker Health. 

Hacking//Hustling’s sex worker, peer-led research team is conducting a study on the effects of SESTA-FOSTA, and the removal of Backpage, on the sex worker community. Our research team is led by a diverse group of trans women, women of color, and chronically ill current and former sex workers.

Purpose of Study:

The purpose of this study is to collect and analyze information from current sex workers and folks who trade sex for food, money, resources, drugs, or housing about their experiences working before and after SESTA/FOSTA and the shut down of Backpage (April 2018). The survey will take approximately 25 minutes to complete. This survey will ask questions about experiences, behaviors and work environments in relation to sex work as well as questions about mental health and physical safety. The results of this study will improve our understanding of how anti-sex worker legislation and equitable access to technology impacts various marginalized communities and their capacity to obtain optimal health outcomes. This study will consist of a one time, voluntary, anonymous survey.

Study Procedure:

Today you will be asked a series of questions and complete an anonymous online survey. You will be asked questions about your experiences in the sex trades. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability and feel free to skip questions that you do not feel comfortable answering.


This is an anonymous survey, which means that your name and information will not be collected on the survey. The survey has been protected using SSL encryption, meaning that to the best of our knowledge a third party will not be able to see your responses as they are transmitted over the Internet.

Given the nature of this document, we want to make you feel secure in sharing information that may be sensitive in certain contexts. We are collecting this information and anonymizing it as much as possible, so that any data or analytics we gather are considered from a holistic point of view and never compromising any individual from the group. 

You may wish to take this survey alone so that others around you cannot see what you are doing. When you have finished the survey, you may want to erase the cache of your web browser to remove evidence of your participation in the study. You can usually do this in the options tab of your web browser or in the history menu.

If you would feel more comfortable further securing your own privacy and anonymity while doing the survey, use the Tor browser. If you want to take extra precautions, consider using a VPN (TunnelBear has a free option).

Here is SurveyMonkey’s Security Statement.


There are no major risks to participating in this study. You will be asked to answer questions about your experiences trading sex and personal history which may cause discomfort or cause you to become upset. You can decide to skip any questions you need to or end the survey at anytime with no penalty to you. 

While there are no direct benefits to you for participating in this study, you will be contributing to a body of research which will be used to gather information on the health and well-being of the sex worker community. This survey may also give you a chance to reflect on your experiences in the sex trades.

Other information:

You have rights as a research volunteer. Taking part in this study is voluntary. If you do not take part, you will have no penalty and lose no benefits. You may stop taking part in this study at any time by closing your browser window.

If you have questions about the study, please contact

The survey can be found here.