Statement: US Government potentially puts millions of Sex Workers and Patrons in Danger by raiding Eros.com
Contact: Briq House- Communications Director- Swop-USA Briq@swopusa.org
Once again, the United States government has wasted tons of resources on raiding a sex service website used by clients and sex workers. Department of Homeland Security Investigations Unit raided the North Carolina Business office of Bolma Star Services Wednesday morning. Bolma was home to Eros.com, The Ultimate guide to Eros Escorts, a call center, and other businesses. Although HSI boasts they had a warrant based off of alleged “cross-border illegal activity” all records are sealed and there is no further information being given at this time. There have been no arrests yet. Millions of U.S. Citizens and people from all over the worlds personal information is now at risk and fair game for whoever gets their hands on it. Including, but not limited to images, financial information, sexual preferences, gender identity and more. Ask yourself the question what does Department of Homeland Security want with all of this information? Why are they so concerned? If it’s under the guise of anti-trafficking, who and exactly how will with these raids help? As we’ve seen with other raids of this kind, protocol usually includes outing participants which leaves people out of work, sometimes without homes, at risk, or in prison. Sex Work stigma makes life incredibly hard for the outed individual. In most cases resources are not offered, and any assistance an individual may have already had is taken away. Outing also makes it difficult for Sex Workers to secure employment and housing in the future as they are shunned by their communities. This combination of experiences often forces us into less than ideal situations in order to make enough money to survive. Research has proven that a decrease in online services means an increase in sex work related harm and death. Less ways to validate a persons identity means SW’s run the risk of encountering black listed patrons who are violent and dangerous. With sites like Eros.com and rentboy.com being added to the government shut down list we loose the opportunity to safely and properly lay out service boundaries, expectations, and guidelines for our interactions. This is a safety measure that benefits Sex Workers and clients alike. Another site down directly puts more people in danger. Department of Homeland Security is creating an environment where perpetrators of violence can run a muck and go on to their next victim undetected.
Dec 17th is the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. Sex Workers Outreach Project joins sex workers, allies and advocates from around the world in recognizing December 17th. As we approach this day, we come together to remember those lost this year and renew our commitment to the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers. Sex Workers Rights are a Human Rights issue and its’s time the world treated it as such. Let’s continue to dismantle the harmful systems that say otherwise together.
Below you will find a list of alternative advertising options compiled by our Board Vice President, Katie Bloomquist. SWOP-USA does not own and/or personally endorse any of these sites or documents, and is not responsible for the information on them. In addition to doing your own research we encourage you to check out our Safety and Self Care Resources page.
Backpage Community Toolkit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mPSq4CQ2gNEGNI9NkZySqhpTBB-KZfojpi5Y5Q7ee6E/mobilebasic
Maggie Mcneill: https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/the-war-goes-on/
Pinned in Love and Outrage, Briq House Communications Director SWOP-USA