Mary Marston


I. Introduction

Mia Khalifa was only paid a total of $12,000 in shooting fees during her ten-month career in the adult film industry, but she remains one of the most searched adult film stars of all time. Social and monetary discrepancies between adult film stars’ payment and the revenue made by pornography studios parallel the difficulties other sex workers face, like exotic dancers and prostitutes, especially in terms of their misclassification as independent contractors instead of employees.

In addition to this misclassification, sex workers face a lack of financial and physical protections in traditional sex work. These lack of protections, paired with the economic downturn of 2008 that led to the rise of the shared and gig economy and precipitated a second digital disruption, has led to an increase of paid online platforms in which sex workers can charge users to view their content.