See-ming Lee / CC BY-SA 2.0

The raid on by the U.S. government in late August ended a “reliable, safe way I had to find clients” and disrupted “the sex trades’ networks of mutual support and safety,” writes an anonymous contributor to The Guardian’s comment page.

On Aug. 25, the U.S. Justice Department took down what it called the largest “Internet brothel,” arresting seven key staff members on felony racketeering charges. It served warrants authorizing the seizure of more than $1.4 million of alleged criminal proceeds from six bank accounts and shuttered the domain of

The law enforcement agencies involved stand to benefit financially from the seizure of money, “each dollar earned by the sweat and tears of those of us who advertised on Rentboy—to fund their ongoing enforcement efforts to lower our wages and rip up the modicum of safety we’ve carved out on third-party platforms like,” The Guardian’s contributor writes.

The author continues:

The federal prosecution of third-party advertisers like Rentboy and myRedBook – and, looming on the horizon, that pesky people-peddler – will not result in a world-wide financial crisis in the formal economy. But it will destroy an informal economy that includes many of us whom are undocumented, or don’t have a degree or other means to surmount the high barriers of entry to an occupation in the formal economy.

These advertising sites represent the most equalizing force in the sex industry in generations, because they allow for anyone (and their mother, if you’re into that kind of thing) to advertise their services for a small fee, from a position of safety and without paying 50% of your fees to agencies and other parasites. These platforms are directly responsible for moving many of us into safer working conditions, while the mounting pressures of prohibitionist campaigns and prosecutorial whack-a-mole instead open us up to policing and labor exploitation. …

Those of us who trade sex need better working conditions, living wage opportunities, shelter and long-term affordable housing options and the closing of the gender and race wage gaps and the homophobia and transphobia that fuel job discrimination in the formal economy. What we don’t need is one more obstacle to the month’s rent or our children’s health insurance co-pays.

The criminally self-serving publicity stunts represented by the closure of and myRedBook are nothing but a knot in the ever-expanding dragnet of state violence. It is population control by other means, and it does nothing to improve our lives or our safety. Instead these enforcement actions line the pockets of an owning class and deflate our earnings, so that the same prosecutors and politicians who persecute us can better afford to pay for our cake, eat it and screw us too.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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