SEATTLE — Local and federal law enforcement authorities on Wednesday shut down TheReviewBoard.net, one of the best known and highly used escort network sites in the Seattle area.
TheReviewBoard.net operated for several years, but today its home page shows a message indicating it has been "seized pursuant to a promoting prostitution investigation conducted by the King County Sheriff's Office, the Bellevue Police Department, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will be holding a press conference later today relating to the seizure of the site, which was viewed as a discussion forum for clients and adult workers.
According to KIRO-TV, eight men associated with TheReviewBoard.net site were arrested for promoting prostitution, money laundering, and various other charges.
Industry attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that the site’s seizure “appears to be part of the continuing war on sex trafficking.”
“While details are sparse, the seizure of a communications network, without any adversary hearing, is a disturbing trend in these cases,” he said.
The seizure of the site comes just four months after federal authorities seized another escort site, RentBoy.com. It also comes several years after authorities seized MyRedBook.com, another escort site that was based in San Francisco.
The Sex Workers Outreach Project, known as SWOP, condemned the site’s seizure and noted that there is resulting collateral damage.
“SWOP believes the closure of TheReviewBoard.net is the latest in a long history of abuses of people in the sex trade that puts these communities in more vulnerable and often more dangerous situations,” said Savannah Sly, SWOP-USA’s board president and former Seattle-based sex worker.
“Along with raids, attacks on web-based communities like TRB harm both native and non-native sex workers," she said. "In addition to a discussion forum, TRB functioned as a free advertising platform for adult workers. Many adult workers in the Northwest relied on the site as a low-barrier and free way to advertise and work without management, indoors, especially subsequent to MyRedbook’s closure new barriers for using Backpage to advertise.”
Capri Sunshine, a local sex worker and the SWOP-Seattle media coordinator, said: “The site was valuable to a lot of sex workers. It was free, undocumented workers without ID or credit cards could use it, and it was where most girls got the majority of their work."
“This has a lot of negative ramifications for sex workers,” she said.