Myredbook.com, a sex industry directory and online community connecting prostitutes and their clients, was taken offline by federal authorities on June 25th. The operators of the site were arrested for facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

According to a press release posted by the San Francisco FBI, myredbook.com purported to provide users with reviews of escorts, strip clubs, and massage parlors – all legal businesses. The reality, of course, is that the site was used to exchange information about prostitutes and their sexual services.

The website hosted advertisements for prostitutes, complete with explicit photos, lewd physical descriptions, menus of sexual services, hourly and nightly rates, and customer reviews of the prostitutes’ services. The website used acronyms for numerous sex acts, which were defined in graphic detail in the website’s ‘Terms and Acronyms’ section. Although the website could be accessed for free, myredbook.com advertised fees for premier placement of prostitution advertisements and for ‘VIP Memberships,’ which purportedly allowed customers access to ‘private forums’ and heightened capabilities to search reviews of the prostitution services.

There are numerous online resources catering to the prostitution industry that are similar to myredbook.com. Many of these websites have been around for over a decade and they have significantly shaped the modern business model of illegal sex work. examples include:

  • Erotic directories where prostitutes post sexy promotional ads, eros.com and the adult section of backpage.com being the most notable.

These tools were designed to provide vital information to both sex workers and clients so that they can conduct business safely and satisfactorily. These websites were also designed to make a boatload of money for the owners, through membership fees and advertising.

An Illusion of Standards

The issue, obviously, is that while these online environments may provide some assistance and support to people involved in money-for-sex transactions, they create an infrastructure for illegality – because prostitution is a crime in most parts of the USA.

Review communities, verification companies, escort directories, and related businesses attempt to manufacture prostitution standards, models of effective professional behavior that can purportedly be maintained through the use of these online tools. But these standards are illusory. Without legislation to validate and regulate an industry, standards of safety and quality cannot be adequately enforced. Additionally, as the myredbook.com incident shows us, unlawful support mechanisms can disappear in an instant, so their dependability is severely in question.

Nevada, the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal in the form of brothels, has concrete laws dictating how money-for-sex transactions are to occur. These laws represent true, enforceable, legitimate standards for prostitution services. If a Nevada brothel does not meet these legal standards and violates prostitution law, the brothel will be shut down.

Sex trafficking and child prostitution does not occur in Nevada brothels. All women work willingly, without being coerced, as legal sex providers in a secure facility. Weekly STD testing and safe sex practices ensure that Nevada brothels are healthy, disease-free establishments. Happy clients walk away satisfied from bawdy houses teeming with professional women who delightfully and profitably practice their titillating trade.

The Next Step for California

Illegal prostitution, and the infrastructure that supports and promotes it, will continue to be targeted by law enforcement. But what about all of the adult women who want to willingly provide sex services in California? What about all of those randy Californians who are looking for a safe pay-to-play sex experience? Certainly, the demand for sex is never going away.

Perhaps the Golden State needs to look at the bigger picture of prostitution. Maybe it’s time to take a hint from the hookers next door in Nevada and consider legalization as a viable option for California.

myredbook-prostitution

A screenshot of the former home page of myredbook.com

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5 Responses to FBI Shuts Down myredbook.com

  1. Emma says:

    Human trafficking is disgusting, especially if it involves children. Plus there are extreme health and safety hazards involved with illegal prostitution, for both client and vendor. But that doesn’t mean sex-work cannot be done both safely and professionally. There are a number of consenting adults who have chosen to work in the industry, as shown by the success of legal brothels in NV. It is unrealistic to condemn all sex-workers as perpetrators or victims of crime. Taking steps to eliminate illegal sex trade is important but with no legal options in the state of California it is more likely to push prostitution further underground and create even more danger.
    Sex is one of the most basic human desires. It is undeniably clear that there will always be a market for sex. If the California Government really wants to protect people from illegal sex trafficing they need to start discussing new legislation so anyone wanting to exchange sex for money, or money for sex, can do so in a legal environment with appropriate health and safety regulations.

  2. Winterfun says:

    The nice thing about the Nevada model for me is that it protects everyone involved. The traditional reasons for making prostitution illegal revolve around (in summary) health, associated criminal activities and social standards. Nevada seems to have at least the first two of these issues dealt with, why don’t neighboring countries/states recognize that?

    People in Nevada have a choice to participate in prostitution… or not. Those who do choose to participate are protected with health standards and well educated, professional courtesans who are given safe establishments to practice their choice of trade and teach their clients safe sex principals that can be taken with them into the world.

    I haven’t even made it down to Sheri’s yet and I’ve realized that my STI knowledge was not as foolproof as I had thought before discovering Sheri’s. When I head down there to hand in my V-card I am going in the knowledge that I am going to a place that is safe for both myself and the courtesan. Since there is no harm being done to anyone at the time, and since the memories and personal gains to be made will bring no harm to anyone afterwards…why can’t I do this closer to home? There are no health concerns, there are no legal concerns, and unless you want to tell me that seeking help for my “V-card condition” is a social concern there isn’t a leg for anyone to stand on to argue against it.

    Absolutely take steps to avoid illegal prostitution, human and drug trafficking. But do not aim the legal cannon at people like me or the ladies at Sheri’s. There is no issue happening here that affects anyone else. Take aim at the people who are putting others at risk with unsafe practices, or who are trafficking people with ill intent. They deserve every ounce of pressure that can be placed on their shoulders.

    For those they have injured, help them, educate them and bring them into society as tax paying, contributing members of society. The Nevada model achieves this, let’s all hope California (and others) begin to take notice.

  3. Allissa says:

    Come to Sheri’s we will rock your world!!!!

  4. Mia Cummings says:

    just another great reason to visit a brothel that’s legal and clean!!

  5. ShyGuy007 says:

    I met some great women because of that former site. It’s shutdown has caused me to reconsider my options and places like Sheri’s are what I’m now taking into consideration.

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