April 24, 2019

Sri Lanka

We try to avoid political comment, but one of the team knows a person directly affected by what just happened there. The horrific and cowardly bombings in Sri Lanka are an offense to the people who follow the religion which the responsible people claim to be 'fighting' for. We are all disgusted by this violence, especially when it is done in the name of a religion where the majority of its followers reject it.

Sri Lanka recently emerged from a decades-long civil war (it's complicated, but it was great that it stopped, however ugly the events were). Tourism surged, rebuilding started and a lot of people started to get out of poverty. That progress is going to be stopped dead because of some idiots in explosive vests.

We have been helping a charity in Sri Lanka looking out for vulnerable girls and women over the last couple of years. We will now look to see if we can help more there or in other ways.

We just dropped advertising prices in Colombo by 40% as we know our paying advertisers might suffer as well. Our commitment to providing a free service to all advertisers remains - we know this has generated thousands of inquiries for them in the last months. Every cent an advertiser doesn't need to pay to a middle-man or woman is a cent closer to better life.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, full of welcoming and very nice people. Go visit.
April 21, 2019

End of service in the US

We are sad to announce we will end service in the US in the next 10 days. Yeah, not cool.

For US advertisers:

  • Really sorry, but your account, listing and associated data will be deleted within 10 days. See the end of this post for a guide on how to keep any info you might want. If you also have a listing in another country, only your listing in the US and its associated data will be deleted.
  • We recommend you list on Slixa - they have built a high-quality platform covering the major cities in the US & Canada. It is a service being run by people who care about their advertisers, providing leads from high-caliber clients and they have strong testimonials from their current advertisers. Please check them out.
How to keep your data
  • If you want to keep the description on your listing, public questions and answers or reviews you need to make a copy and save them to your computer or phone.
  • If you have images on your profile which you wish to keep, you should download and save them to your computer or phone.

For US users / visitors:

  • Sorry we won't be able to help any more. Check out Slixa.
  • We will try and identify US users and will delete those accounts, any associated data and send a message.
For everyone: get in touch in the comments below or directly if you any questions. 

Why are we doing this?

There was a random law signed by a random president last year. It was smuggled through the US House of Representatives and the Senate based on being against 'trafficking' and 'exploitation' (which we, you, and everyone agree are very, very bad things).

That law also had a lot of dumb stuff in it. A lot of people complained about this, including: US law enforcement (the law made it harder to find abuse and caused problems on the street), service providers and users. In the current environment, we are not sure that the challenges (like this one) to this dumb law will succeed, so have no choice but to suspend service.

Statement

Since FOSTA/SESTA, this site has not billed a single dollar to any advertiser or user, nor has received any other financial income or benefit based on any activity in the US. This site has assumed a large cost in that period to continue providing service in in terms of listings moderation, advertiser and user support, and costs for bandwidth and hosting.

We did this for two reasons:
  • to help enable transactions which did not enrich a middle-[wo]man because this is a real economic advantage for advertisers (some of whom are in a difficult financial position)
  • to help advertisers and users exercise their rights under the US Constitution.
Individuals advertising services on the platform range from people in a good economic position to those close to poverty. Poverty and exploitation are horrible things - we don't think an online platform will solve it, but we do know from some advertisers that we helped them get 'to a better place'. Many others have asked us to "please carry on and don't stop the site".

Unfortunately, we know that suspending service in the US will probably make life worse for all advertisers; and may really make day-to-day life much harder for any advertiser who is already having trouble surviving. We doubt many legislators who voted for the law understood the effects it would have or that most US citizens would be in favor of those effects.

The main justifications for the new law in the US were child exploitation and human trafficking (even if existing laws already covered those things). We have processes in place to identify this type of behavior, stop listings of that type and never got a complaint for the US about anything like this.

The person who signed this law, the individual currently in supreme authority in the US, has been accused of offering money to several people for their time and attention, and this is one of the few things he has not denied doing...

No comment.

Learn more here https://stopsesta.org

We will make a donation to EFF on the behalf of common sense in the world. In the same way we have donated over the past years to a number of projects to help women and children in vulnerable situations, single mothers trying to escape exploitation and other good causes. If you can, please consider how you might be able to help.

Comment below if you have something to share!
January 18, 2019

Service problems

UPDATE: 02:46 GMT 20/01/18: We are still under a DDoS attack. We have service resumed, although it is running a little slow. We will continue to make a series of changes to mitigate the impact.

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Since this morning we have been experiencing some issues on the site. The cause of this is some 'amusing' people sending millions of requests to flood the service. Our servers felt like this:



We have restored service, but they are still going pretty hard so are causing some delays in returning pages.

We are working on it, but service may be interrupted as we make changes. Sorry!
August 6, 2018

Payments back | US listings

We now have payments working again. Apologies for the disruption this has caused in the last months. Our payment processor suspended service without notice and it took us a while to get another solution in place.

If you have any problems, please let us know.

US listings


Due to new legislation in the US, we have taken the decision to phase out US listings on the site. We're sorry about the impact this will have on our US advertisers and their income and safety, but we don't currently see any other option. More information will come soon.
February 16, 2018

Laura Lee RIP

Laura Lee was a lady who took a stand and talked out for the right to decide. She acknowledged that there were many abuses in sex-work, but defended the right for women who chose to do it. In June 2015, legislation in Northern Ireland made it illegal to pay for sex. Her arguments about how that type of legislation made sex-workers more vulnerable need to continue to be heard.

Academic studies, observation in the real world and common sense all indicate that the illegalization of sex-work does not achieve a positive outcome.

There is a brutally stupid blind-spot in public discourse which refuses to recognize the difference between 'exploitation' (minors, slavery, trafficking, etc.) and an economic choice. Even when it comes to an 'economic choice', there are different shades of grey - it appears that people with economic means still choose to do sex work.

Instead of prohibition, legislators need to focus on how to deal with the real crimes: trafficking, slavery and the exploitation of minors. Of course, these are harder to identify...

Laura Lee Obituary
January 25, 2018

The Internet makes sex-work safer

An academic study from the University of Leicester in the UK has highlighted some interesting points about what matters for sex-workers. They claim that Beyond the Gaze (BtG) is the largest study to date about safety, working practices, attitudes and regulation.

One of the key findings was that online services were "....of considerable importance in developing services, enabling independent working and greater control over working circumstances, and improving safety strategies." The BtG study also, "confirms that levels of violent crime encountered by internet-based sex workers are considerably lower than those reported in studies of street-based workers.

Although some of these conclusions may be obvious to people working in the industry, it is good to see this type of academic study. Quantifying and describing real-world experiences will help influence public opinion and may help politicians understand and adapt legislation for the general good.

Website | Download study
October 31, 2017

Bad guys alert

We wrote a while ago about people trying to scam Massage Republic users.

We now need to add another alert. We have just had a couple of reports that advertisers are being contacted both:
  • by phone, and,
  • using fake email addresses like massagerepublic[something]@gmail.com

They are asking for for an account registration fee to be sent to them (Bkash has been one method they have used).

We don't:
  • have a registration fee
  • use Bkash
  • call people asking for cash, email people asking for cash (if you want to upgrade, do so onsite please
  • use any email that is not from @massagerepublic.com
We do know that it can be difficult to know if an email is genuine - so if you have any doubts, contact us and we will assist.