Terms of Services (ToS)

What is it

ToS stands for Terms of Services, in Dutch gebruiksvoorwaarden, which are terms of use. You know, that little check mark you so carelessly place when you start using a service on an online platform. Next time, read it for fun to see if there's anything in there that makes your eyebrows go up as a sex worker. That sentence is almost always at the very bottom so you can scroll through all those pages very quickly.

Example words from such a text: "obscene, defamatory, libelous, slanderous, profane, indecent, discriminating, threatening, abusive, harmful, lewd, vulgar, or unlawful"


What it can mean for a sex worker

The words in a ToS are rather vague, perhaps your piece will soon fall under "obscene" or "vulgar. But if you are suddenly excluded from a service, you rarely if ever find out. Suddenly you don't have access anymore, you've lost something or something doesn't work. If you complain, you also almost never get a decent answer about what you did wrong. There is also no person behind who decides something like that, it is the words that the system uses.

Unfortunately, the recently opened accounts of the Digital Advisor were also blocked on Instagram and Facebook. Nothing 'vulgar' or obscene to speak of, but just the word sex work is enough for a block. It is hugely damaging to the community that simply providing information is also made impossible.


What can you do
  • Pay attention to the words you use, maybe you can avoid words (like sex or sex work) or change a few letters, e.g. "segs worg" or "s3ks". Although the system may learn from that too.
  • Think you're excluded from services? File a protest with the relevant platform anyway.
  • Report it to the Advisor, then they can chart it better and give better advice. It just so happens that these things change regularly. Send a screenshot of the blockage to the Advisor, who will collect them and raise it with authorities.
Continue reading

This is the "Incomplete List of Legal Discrimination against Sex Workers" (we want to complete this list for Dutch situations as well, but many terms of use in this document concern platforms hosted on USA territory, so they are already in there).