Tuesday, 28 July 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • Defending Backpage, Sex Workers Say Removing Online Ads Does Them More Harm

    By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report

    Laptop silhouetteOne woman's story reveals why recent crackdowns on websites like Backpage, where sex workers post ads, do more harm than good. (Image: Laptop silhouette via Shutterstock)Monroe, who cannot reveal her real name out of fear of retaliation from her former pimp, said they would be "boxing in the room" if she didn't bring in at least $1,000 in a night. Making that much money became difficult after law enforcement shut down MyRedBook.com, an erotic services forum where sex workers and potential clients could meet and review each other.

    On MyRedBook, Monroe could book gigs with clients from her home or a hotel room. There was no need to walk the street, where she could be harassed, robbed and arrested. Special forums on MyRedBook allowed erotic service providers to review clients and flag those who were abusive or simply pimps posing as clients to find women to work for them. Monroe had plenty of time to sit back and decide whether taking a client was in her best interest.

    MyRedBook was used by plenty of consenting adult sex workers and their clients, but the FBI seized and shut down the website in the summer of 2014 amidst allegations that it was also used by sex traffickers to sell women and minors they had forced or coerced into selling sex.


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