The CEO and six other employees of Rentboy.com, a site which prides itself as “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur,” were arrested and charged of crime related to promoting prostitution. The arrest was made following a raid conducted by the Homeland Security and the FBI.
Rentboy.com – ‘World’s Destination’ For Male Escort Site
Rentboy.com is a site proud of “connecting customer to quality men since 1996.” According to its website, it has over 10,500 men in 2100 cities worldwide in its databank.
On Aug. 25, the court in the Eastern District of New York unsealed a complaint charging Rentboy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurant and six other employees of violating the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. The complaint alleged that Rentboy.com is created for the mere purpose of advertising illegal prostitution. The site’s illicit service is masked by its disclaimers stating it only provides companionship for its patrons and not sexual services. However, FBI authorities and the Homeland security found that the site charges its members a minimum monthly fee of $59.95 and up to several hundred dollars to have their sexual services advertised on the website.
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“As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” Acting United States Attorney Kelly Currie said in the announcement.
William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department added that the site “profited from the promotion of prostitution despite their claim that their advertisements were not for sexual services.”
HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Sorge said, “The facilitation and promotion of prostitution offenses across state lines and international borders is a federal crime made even more egregious when it’s blatantly advertised by a global criminal enterprise.”
Rentboy.com escorts offer time, not sex
Duncan Black, an escort for Rentboy.com, told The Daily Beast in 2014 that there is a difference between escorting and prostitution. The latter “offers sex for money, whereas an escort offers time for money,” Black said.
“If you were to book me, you wouldn’t be booking me for a specific sexual act—you’d just be booking me for my time. We could go to dinner, or for a walk, or just hang out and talk… or, y’know. Other things can happen, too!” Black told The Daily Beast.
“I’ve had clients tell me about their coming-out stories, how if it weren’t for escorts, that they’d have probably committed suicide. They don’t have someone to talk to, but with escorts, they can talk about their sexuality and their feelings,” Black said of his job.
Another Rentboy.com escort, Viktor Belmont, describe his service as offering the “boyfriend experience.” He told Mic that many of his clients “are seeking care and intimacy.” He however said that their jobs as escorts “empower people to enjoy sex more and be less ashamed of their innate desires.”