The recent raid of Rentboy.com by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has prompted a lot of protest. Along with the websites name, there was never anything discreet about Rentboy.com in its twenty year operation. The takedown of this popular website by Homeland Security has led to both anger and confusion.

During the successful twenty year operation, the site was very open and racy. Male escorts paid for ads in order to attract customers – mainly male. As a result, the takedown has led to protests that the federal authorities are demonstrating anti-gay bias. While Rentboy.com has been removed, other gay and straight escort websites continue to do business.

At the moment, the origins of this case have not been made public. Federal authorities used a very broad statute: barring travel and to commit or promote a crime. When prompted, authorities have state that the investigation is ongoing, but that additional charges should be expected.

A former federal prosecutor and executive of the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at New York University School of Law, Serina Vash, said that, even without knowing the specifics, the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement is appropriate. According to Vash, it is part of the agency’s mission “to secure cyberspace”.

But as time has gone on – more than a month after the initial arrests – the gay community has become angered and fearful. There is still an absence of allegations that rentboy.com was anything more of a menace to society than prostitution. This has led to the chanting of “keep your laws off my body” and “Sex work is real work” by demonstrators.

Those who have commented on the situation have suggested that this case could become a “digital Stonewall” for sex workers, a reference to the 1969 police raid on the Greenwich Village. An event that hastened the gay rights movement.

However, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, one of the many Departments and agencies that participated, claims that “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false”. As of right now, prosecutors allege that Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel.

Before its takedown, Rentboy was the best and safest way for escorts to find and secure clients willing to pay for companionship. Since a large segment of the gay community acknowledges being a porn actor or an escort as a legitimate job, those in this community are taking it very personally. In addition, for other legitimate escort businesses, it can be difficult to know how to proceed.

Although the male escort market is not as large as the female escort market, it is still an incredibly lucrative investment. The male escort business is labelled as an “adult service”, making it high risk in the eyes of lending sources. Even so, it is still possible to start a male escort business by acquiring an escort merchant account. Taking extra precautions will help you safeguard your business venture, your websites users and their clients in light of recent events.

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