Over the last couple days, a drama unfolded in the Bay Area that was heartbreaking. News stations inappropriately tagged it as a raid of a “trafficking” website that was seized. This site to us Sex Workers is know as SFRedbook or MyRedbook. It was a site that allowed workers to post ads and more important for them to screen for predators. This site was free so those with little or no income could stay safe even if on the street.
In the past, it was a site that had actually been useful to Law Enforcement in honing in on predators such as pimps and traffickers and allowed us workers to stay clear of them. With SF Redbook down, and it being a significant publication in SF, I would expect to see, over the next week, a large increase in street prostitution and with it a rise in violence. Many of the girls/boys/ts are not able to be licensed for parlor work. With more people on the street, desperation will set in and there will be downward price pressure, so they will now need to see more clients, and more exposure equals more risk.
This seems to be the ebb and flow historically. Those workers have to go somewhere and Redbook was a very low cost solution for those who chose not to work on the streets. For us sex workers it’s a sad day and sends a strong message that the Federal Government and IRS are more interested in chasing the money, once again, than saving lives. The City of SF, and all of California, will suffer the fiscal consequences and human casualties. One could only hope that some day they choose to take a human rights approach.
I feel for those who will now experience their first days on the street. From personal experience, I can tell you those first days are horrific and were some of the most terrifying days in my life. The pimps and Traffickers are going to have a field day getting a hold of these kids that aren’t yet street savvy.
It is a sad day for us here in Northern California. Those of us in the industry now fear for our safety and truly understand that those that chose to inflict such trauma on our community will not be around to clean up the blood shed or clean up the mess of so many instantly unemployed. They will not be there to feed those on the lower socioeconomic end or to shelter them. To me, The FBI and IRS have just committed one of the gravest human rights violations there are. We are being prohibited from staying safe, from having shelter, from having food. They are purposely impeding our ability to screen for predators. But maybe, just maybe, those who kill and rape us are doing them a favor and that is the exact consequences they are looking for