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Open Society Foundations: Advancing Sex Workers’ Health and Rights in the United States

Deadline: January 31, 2019

The Open Society Public Health Program invites concept notes from civil society organizations and coalitions to advocate for sex workers’ health and human rights in connection to litigation efforts to challenge the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA).

Signed into law in April 2018, FOSTA-SESTA, as it’s more commonly known, was intended to make it easier to cut down on sex trafficking online. Instead, the law creates new penalties for online platforms and websites that sex workers have used to do their work safely and independently, including to communicate with each other and share “bad date lists.”

These sites and social media platforms have played a critical role in helping some sex workers relocate off the streets to work more safely and independently indoors. These sites allowed sex workers more autonomy over their work, including the ability to screen clients and define the boundaries of services provided. The removal of these tools has led to more unsafe work environments as some sex workers have returned to street-based work and/or come to rely on intermediaries to facilitate work. Some have also faced significant reductions in their income and ability to support themselves and their families.

Through this opportunity, Open Society Foundations will offer unrestricted, organizational support to groups working on the above-described issues.

Amount: Grants will range from $50,000-$100,000 over a two year period.

Eligibility: Groups or coalitions that meet the following criteria may apply:

  • Location: Organizations may be based anywhere in the United States, including U.S. territories and Puerto Rico, doing work at the local, state, or national level.
  • Sex worker inclusion: Groups and coalitions must demonstrate meaningful inclusion of people with experience in the sex trades in project governance and/or leadership. Groups/coalitions which also demonstrate meaningful inclusion of trans people and people of color will be given priority.
  • Fiscal infrastructure: Applicants must be able to receive funds through an organizational bank account or via a fiscal sponsor. Applicants must have 501(c)3 status. Organizations without this status are encouraged to apply as part of a consortium; only the organization managing the funds is required to have 501(c)3 status.

Link: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants

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