Thereviewboard.net, an online mainstay of the Seattle sex industry, appears to have been seized by authorities pending a "promoting prostitution" investigation.
The site, which now bears the insignia of the FBI, King County Prosecutor's Office, the Bellevue Police Department, and the King County Sheriff's Office, once fielded online reviews of sex workers from their clients, or "hobbyists." Sex workers keeping tabs on the site could also vet their clientele by looking at hobbyists' user histories and asking other sex workers about them.
There's very little information to go on at the moment, but a spokesperson from the Bellevue Police Department told The Stranger that King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg will be holding a press conference related to the website tomorrow morning. The King County Sheriff's Office put out a media advisory for tomorrow about a "large scale human trafficking investigation," but the Sheriff's Office would not confirm whether it was about the Review Board.
Local sex worker advocates have expressed concern about the shutdown. "[The website] definitely serviced a lot of people in the Seattle area, and a lot of sex workers relied on the Review Board for a place they could safely advertise," Savannah Sly, president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA and a member of SWOP-Seattle, said.
"It's also extremely frightening," Sly added. "It's like punching into work and seeing FBI tape all around your building. I think there's going to be a whole lot of sex workers around Seattle who have a hard time making rent this month, who are extremely concerned about their safety and worried if they're going to get a knock on their doors from police officers."
We'll post when we know more.