The #RentboyRaid has drawn the ire of everyone from the Editorial Board of The New York Times to, well, the people the raid actually affects. Tomorrow, a coalition of groups including local political clubs the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Stonewall Democrats, and Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID) will gather at the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York, located at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn. For the Facebook event click here.
LGBT and Civil Liberties Advocates Denounce Arrests of Rentboy.com Staff and Call for Dropping Charges and Decriminalization of Sex Work
RALLY Thurs., Sept. 3rd, Noon, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn Heights
LGBT activists, civil rights organizations, the #HookUp Collaborative and supporters will hold a demonstration this Thursday, Sept. 3rd, at Noon outside the U.S. Eastern District Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn to demand that the U.S. Attorney stop the prosecution of Rentboy.com and drop all charges after the raid on them by Homeland Security and NYPD.
We are outraged at this latest example of the abuse and selective prosecution of sex workers. We are sick and tired of this misuse of government time and money to persecute members of the sex industry. This unrelenting harassment and persecution endangers the health and safety of these workers and their clients, and disproportionately targets the poor and people of color.
We demand an end to this system of criminalization.
WHAT: Demonstration to protest Rentboy.com prosecutions and criminalization of sex work
WHEN: Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 12 noon
WHERE: United States Court for the Eastern District, 225 Cadman Plaza East (on Cadman Plaza Park near corner of Tillary Street; take A or C to High Street or 2 or 3 to Clark St. in Brooklyn Heights). See map here
WHO (lists in formation):
GROUPS: Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Stonewall Democrats of NYC; Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID): New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA); Queer Nation; GAY USA; St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction (Bronx, NY); The #HookUp Collaborative; Best Practices Policy Project; Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP); Prostitutes of New York (PONY), USA; MUSKAN, India; Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), India; Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM), India; International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE); Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys; Red Umbrella Project; Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP);
INDIVIDUALS (affiliations for identification purposes): Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST); Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, Director of Social Justice Programming, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah; Robert Gangi, Director, Police Reform Organizing Project; Nathan Riley, columnist, Gay City News; Andy Humm, former NYC Human Rights Commissioner; Bill Dobbs, gay civil libertarian; Alex S. Vitale, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Brooklyn College; Scott Caplan; Wendy Chapkis, Professor of Sociology and Women & Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine and author of “Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor;” Allen Roskoff, President Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Former Special Assistant To Commissioner, NYC Human Rights Commission; Robert Pinter, founder, Campaign To Stop The False Arrests
BACKGROUND: With offices near Manhattan’s Union Square, Rentboy.com, a nearly two-decade-old website for male escorts, was raided on Aug. 25, 2015 by Homeland Security agents in concert with NYPD. The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mr. Kelly T. Currie, is prosecuting seven individuals for felonies in a high-profile case that quickly drew criticism around the country including from the New York Times. The call for the decriminalization of sex work has just been made by Amnesty International, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Transgender Law Center and previously been called for by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, the UN Development Programme, UN Women, and UNAIDS.
Statements on RentBoy.com raid and federal prosecutions. Updated 9.2.15
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Since When Are Consensual Sexual Relationships a Threat to National Security?
Free Speech Coalition: Statement on the Rentboy.com Raid
Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP): Statement Condemning the raid and arrests at Rentboy.com
Harm Reduction Coalition: Statement on Rentboy.com Arrests
Human Rights Watch: US Raid on Rentboy is a Raid on Rights
Lambda Legal: Raiding Rentboy.com Threatens Our Safety
National Center for Lesbian Rights: Statement on Federal Raid of Rentboy.com
National Center for Transgender Equality and Lambda Legal: Rentboy.com raid shows why sex work should be legal
National LGBTQ Task Force: Statement on Rentboy.com raid by Homeland Security
Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP): Male Sex Workers Condemn Raid on RentBoy.com
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF): MSMGF on the Rentboy Raids – No Justice in Criminalizing Sex Work
The NYC Anti-Violence Project (AVP): Statement on federal raid of Rentboy.com
Transgender Law Center: Transgender Law Center condemns Rentboy.com raid, reiterates call to decriminalize sex work
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance: Rentboy.com Latest Victim in the Ongoing War Against Sex