New York, NY, September 3, 2015—The #HookUp Collaborative—a loose working group of people who have advertised, and people in community with advertisers, on Rentboy.com—views last Tuesday’s raid as just the latest, but by no means the greatest, enforcement action in the ongoing criminalization of people who trade sex. People in our communities are arrested on prostitution related offenses every single day in the streets, brothels, and massage parlors where we seek to make our work safer. The vast majority of those arrested are people of color, especially women, trans-women and gender non-conforming people of color.
In the words of Rico Stone, “The U.S. government is not concerned for our safety and it never has been. This is why we see money being funneled, under the guise of fighting sex trafficking, into expanding systems where we experience the most violence: ‘trainings’ for the same cops who demand sex for not arresting us, wiretap authority to search-and-destroy advertising platforms, and so-called Human Trafficking Intervention Courts for savior judges to handcuff us to ‘therapy’ under threat of imprisonment. Meanwhile, our basic needs for housing, living wages, and affirming medical care remain unmet. The shutting down of Rentboy.com is one more example of the State putting people in the sex trades at a greater risk of harm. Once again our survival is criminalized and we are left to create networks of support under constant threat of arrest.”
The agencies involved in the Rentboy.com raid will reap the benefit of at least $1.4 million in seized assets—each dollar earned by the cum, 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 Rentboy.com. We demand that the U.S. government drop the charges against Rentboy.com staff and release the seized assets to community-based organizations that are run by and for people in the sex trade.
CONTACT: Rico Stone, (c) 917-565-4323; email@example.com
The #HookUp Collaborative is not affiliated with any company or organization, but is instead a loose working group of people who have advertised, and people in community with advertisers, on Rentboy.com.