Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

In Charleston, West Virginia, a sex worker killed a man in self-defense, later to discover that he may have been a serial killer.

The 45-year-old man, named Neal Falls, arranged to meet the woman, identified only as Heather, through Backpage.com. When he arrived at the woman's home, he was armed with a gun and allegedly asked ‘Live or die?’ when she opened the door then began choking her.

31st July 2015 by NSWP

In mid-July, a 20 year-old transgender sex worker was shot dead in Georgetown, Guyana, apparently following an altercation with a client, which, some reports say, may have been a case of mistaken identity.

27th July 2015 by NSWP

The online classified web site Backpage.com, long used by sex workers as a low-cost means of advertising their services and screening clients, has announced that it is allowing users to post ads for free to the adult services section of its site.

13th July 2015 by NSWP

In the aftermath of Canada’s new “end demand” style policy on sex work, migrant sex workers (including those with legal status) are being swept up in crackdowns and police sweeps, which they say are endangering them.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP

On Tuesday the 30th of June, MasterCard announced that its credit cards can no longer be used to pay for ads on the Backpage.com website, following a request from Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, who claimed the site is used by sex traffickers. The following day Visa announced that it, too, would no longer allow its credit cards to be used to make transactions through the website.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP

Thirty-five mayors from across the United States, including Bill de Blasio in New York City, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles, have lent their support to a growing campaign for an “end demand” style of law enforcement to be used against the clients of sex workers.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP

Sex workers in Canada held a national day of action across the country on Saturday, the 13th of June. The third annual Red Umbrella March was especially significant this year, following the introduction of new sex work legislation late last year.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP

At the end of last month, SWOP Houston formed, describing themselves as “a non-profit resource for community-building, organizing, and sharing support … run by and for sex workers”. To celebrate their launch, SWOP Houston held a kick-off brunch on the 2nd of June, which all current and former sex workers in the area were invited to attend.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP

When Canada’s Justice Minister Peter MacKay presented the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (the Conservative Government’s new plan for legislating on sex work, implemented late last year), he presented, as a major selling point, the promise of providing funds to people in the sex trades who wish to exit the industry.

28th May 2015 by NSWP

Last year, on 25th June, the San Francisco-based advertising/community website MyRedbook, which featured free listings and discussions forums for sex workers; a review section, and a bad date list, was shut down and seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Two employees were arrested and last week one was sentenced to 13 months in jail. Eric Omuro had entered a guilty plea, admitting that from 2010 to 2014 he owned and ran MyRedbook.com with the intent to facilitate prostitution.

28th May 2015 by NSWP