Protest Slated Over RentBoy.com Prosecutions

Protest Slated Over RentBoy.com Prosecutions
Rhett Pardon

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A rally and demonstration has been slated to take place tomorrow afternoon outside the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn in an effort to denounce the prosecution of the CEO and staff of RentBoy.com.

Last week, the offices of the longtime online escort advertising directory were raided in New York by the Department of Homeland Security.

Its staff of seven, from the CEO to the social media manager were arrested — some in their own homes. RentBoy’s website was subsequently seized and its bank accounts were frozen by authorities.

The raid and arrests have since drawn criticism around the country from groups like the Free Speech Coalition to the editorial board of The New York Times.

More than two dozen civil rights organizations, as well as scores of LGBT and sex trade activists, have pledged to show up at the Thursday rally and demonstration to protest the RentBoy.com prosecutions and criminalization of sex work.

Some of the groups attending include Queer Nation, the Red Umbrella Project, Prostitutes of New York and the HookUp Collaborative.

An organizer of Thursday’s protest said: “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.”

The RentBoy.com protest will take place Thursday at noon at the U.S. Federal Courthouse at 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).

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