I woke up one morning last week to my Twitter in an uproar. That’s reasonably common in my world, as many of the people I follow are marginalized and there’s a lot to be angry about. Turns out that the FBI has seized MyRedbook, a California site where masseuses and escorts could advertise for clients for free, and arrested two people, Eric Omuro and Annmarie Lanoce, in connection to “using the mail and the Internet to facilitate prostitution” as well as money laundering under several aliases.
As of right now it’s not entirely clear if those arrests were the main focus of the sting, or if there will be more upcoming. It’s terrifying to many people close to me, who used MyRedbook to advertise their erotic entertainment services because other options like Eros were too expensive or less trafficked by paying customers. We don’t really know what options sex workers who had profiles up on MyRedbook have to protect themselves from investigation. I’m among them, as I used to advertise on MyRedbook as a professional dominatrix. Keep reading »
The NYPD has finally agreed to ban the confiscation condoms as evidence from people they suspect of being sex workers. With similar measures having been fought for and won in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., this seems like a win for sexual health, right?
Well, sort of. The headlines I keep seeing aren’t actually accurate: “NYPD to stop seizing sex work suspects’ condoms,” “NYPD To Stop Seizing Condoms From Suspects As Evidence Of Prostitution,” etc. This sort of shoddy reporting might mean that the public thinks that condoms as evidence is an issue over and done with, when in fact there is more to do. The policy announced by NYPD Commissioner Bratton bars confiscation of condoms as arrest evidence in prostitution, prostitution in a school zone, and loitering for the purposes of prostitution cases, which is a great start. But it’s not as overarching as the mainstream media seems to think it is. Keep reading »
When most of us think about the victims of sex trafficking, rarely does an image of a suburban professional woman come to mind. Many imagine that it’s a crime mainly affecting young girls and runaways in this country and others. However, North Carolina journalist Brittney Cason reveals how she was nearly kidnapped into a sex trafficking ring by a man claiming to be a talent acquisitions agent looking for people to cover the Sochi Olympics. There was just one thing that ultimately saved her. Read more on The Stir…
Super Bowl Sunday is famous for more than just football. This time of year sees a spike in human trafficking, and a spike in awareness to go with it. Trafficking involves selling, buying, and transporting human beings to be exploited in some capacity. It often involves forced prostitution, and victims are controlled through bribery or force. Lots of experts assert that Super Bowl weekend has the highest volume of human trafficking than any other event in the United States. In fact, it’s been a favorite phrase of newscasters and talk show hosts over the past several years. Others say that statistic is untrue, but drawing attention to the issue means more lives saved, so it’s hardly worth disputing. The fact of the matter is that thousands of people are exploited and trapped into this form of modern day slavery each year, and fewer people are aware of that than you’d imagine. Keep reading »
Women’s rights charities in the UK are warning women and girls who are being trafficked into forced marriages to hide spoons inside their underwear at airports to set off metal detectors. The Guardian UK reported that when women have done this, they have been taken aside by airport security for further questioning and have been able to seek help from authorities. Keep reading »
It is easy to think of sex trafficking as something that only happens far off in Asia or in the movie Taken. But human trafficking happens in America as well. This week, in Lakewood, New Jersey, Jose Cruz “Chato” Romero-Flores, along with his girlfriend and four male associates, were arrested in a human trafficking bust, reports USA Today.
Romero-Flores allegedly ran three brothels in Lakewood and filled them with women lured from their homes in Latin America with promises of jobs as house cleaners or babysitters. In these brothels, women were forced to serve up to 40 clients in a single day.
Keep reading »