EDITORIAL: I want to clarify something in the article below. The sex workers advocates are crying foul over taking down this supermarket for sex website, saying it endangers legitimate sex worker’s lives. Let’s be perfectly clear about the law here. In San Francisco, as well as in all of California, prostitution, escorting, sex for money, is NOT LEGAL. Having sex on a porn set between tested porn performers, wearing condoms, is the ONLY legal sex work in this state and in this city.
Don’t let sex worker advocates fool you. They are paid by the pimps and madams. Just as the advocates in the porn industry have been proven to be, they represent the interests of those who make the real money from this criminal activity, the PIMPS. The girls and women are exploited, degraded and sold for profit and they end up on the streets or dead when their profitability declines. So while the media prints this propaganda about safety of legitimate sex workers, the truth is, the only legal sex worker is a California pornstar or a Nevada brothel worker and the only SAFE sex worker is an EX sex-worker!
It’s interesting that this news item was reported on the same day that AB1576 (California Assemblymember Isadore Hall’s bill which is set to ensure the health and safety of countless adult film workers) passed the California Senate Labor Committee.
I doubt it will take the FBI and/or IRS very long to realize that MyRedBook most likely contains ads featuring pornstars (such as Poppy Morgan) posted by many of the illegal prostitution and escort rings in operation (click here to view a few questionable websites I’ve researched featuring pornstars found to be escorts & prostitutes).
Many pornstars would NOT turn to escorting and/or prostitution if they were paid residuals (as mainstream Hollywood actors and actresses are)…but the pornographic industry studios are far too greedy to do that (plus I believe the porn studios want to force pornstars into escorting anyways – it is the foundation of how they really have attained their wealth afterall…through P I M P IN G).
SAN FRANCISCO —Two San Francisco-based escort websites were shut down by the FBI and the IRS on Wednesday and the sites’ two alleged proprietors appeared in federal court, accused of facilitating prostitution and money laundering, according to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The sites, MyRedBook.com and SFRedBook.com, advertised free listings for services ranging from massage parlors, strippers, dominatrixes and escorts throughout the western U.S.
But U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s office argued in a nine-page indictment released Wednesday afternoon that the sites were used primarily for advertising prostitution in violation of state law.
The site’s two alleged proprietors — identified as 53-year-old Eric “Red” Omuro of Mountain View and 40-year-old Annemarie Lanoce of Rocklin — are accused of facilitating prostitution using interstate communication and laundering more than $5 million in revenue from the sites since April 1, 2010, according to Haag’s office.
The site would charge fees for premier placement of ads and for “VIP Membership” to access special services on the site such as private forums and better search features, according to Haag’s office.
Omuro is accused of using numerous aliases to move funds from the site into his control. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than $5 million in assets including bank accounts at four different banks, investments, a BMW and a Mini Cooper.
The FBI conducted several raids this morning connected to the case, according to FBI spokesman Peter Lee. One of the locations was the 200 block of Houghton Street in Mountain View, an address apparently associated with Omuro.
The two made an initial appearance in the federal courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Francisco this afternoon, U.S. Attorney’s spokeswoman Lillian ArauzHaase said.
Omuro was released on $500,000 bail and is due back in Judge Cousins’ court for identification of defense attorney and entry of a plea at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
A status conference is scheduled for July 10 before U.S. District Judge William Orrick, the trial judge assigned to the case.
Bay Area sex worker advocates expressed concern today that the seizure could affect sex workers’ livelihood and safety — including those doing legal work.
Oakland-based sex worker rights advocate Sabrina Morgan said that MyRedBook helped sex workers to screen and protect themselves from potentially violent clients and that its absence could put already vulnerable women in danger.
She said that in addition to providing listings, MyRedBook enabled sex workers to talk to clients before meeting them and to talk to other sex workers about potential clients for referrals.
The site contained both a public forum and a private forum just for workers.
“Clients on the site would need references,” and a good reference from another worker was an indication that a particular client was safe to see, she said.
“Taking the site offline means that type of networking and resource sharing is pushed further underground,” Morgan said.
While other websites offer similar services, there is nothing remaining like MyRedBook, Morgan said, as others charge a fee to create listings and operate on a national scale.
Kristina Dolgin, a spokeswoman with the Bay Area chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project, said that the loss of MyRedBook as a free resource for sex workers could put an already marginalized community further at risk.
“They’re going to have less safe interactions and be put into situations where they can be put at risk of violence,” Dolgin said. “To those who can’t afford switching to another website, this is completely detrimental.”
Some members of the Sex Worker Outreach Project are consulting with attorneys out of concern that the FBI’s targeting of MyRedBook could lead to charges filed against them.
Dolgin said the FBI might have gained IP addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other personal details of Bay Area sex workers.
“It’s a very scary thing,” she said.
The site has previously been used as a law enforcement resource for investigators targeting pimps and human traffickers. Officers have posed as clients or offering services in order to arrange meetings and make arrests.