Federal Agents Seize, Disable Sex Workers Network -The Toast

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Last night, federal agents seized longtime Bay Area sex work advertising network MyRedBook, arresting the editors and disabling the site in the process as part of an ongoing sex work sting.

The Sex Workers Outreach Project for the Bay Area issued an immediate response:

We are very alarmed by the seizure of Myredbook.  Many Bay Area sex workers have been able to improve their working conditions by using Myredbook as the site provided a private, discreet venue for negotiations that otherwise often happen in a public venues or on the street. Now that the only free local online female sex worker ad hosting site is gone, where will people go to work? We are very concerned for those who may be forced into more dangerous working conditions at this time.

Today we also lost extensive online forums for a community of sex workers to keep each other safe, screen clients, and blacklist predators. Myredbook also hosted resource guides for sex workers who were struggling and created a venue for community counseling for those in need. Many local outreach organizations used this forum to connect with vulnerable sex workers.

Friends of the Toast Melissa Gira Grant and Charlotte Shane pointed out on Twitter how seizures like this one intimidate and endanger sex workers:

Our government is hunting us with a religious zeal, and they have abundant support in doing so.

Sex workers! Here is a general Know Your Rights Guide to law enforcement encounters. Please RT: http://t.co/DzTcZyByKy

For anyone interested and/or affected by this seizure, there’s going to be a SWOP Bay Area meeting on Thursday, June 26th.

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