“Sex trafficking” hysteria has given cops and prosecutors a rationale for harassing the screening services sex workers use to protect themselves, often obliterating them in the process, and it won’t end anytime soon; even after the moral panic subsides in another two to three years, the laws and procedures it spawned will continue to exist and will be used to justify pogroms for years to come. So a friend of mine (the escort who wrote “Something in the Milk“) has decided to start a new screening service, not just for escorts but for anyone who wants to meet someone she only knows from the internet. It’s called “Up 2 Date” and it will be just a screening service; it will never carry escort ads or reviews, because those things give official busybodies excuses derived from “pandering” or “trafficking” laws. Up 2 Date doesn’t know or care why anyone needs to check up on somebody else; that’s their business as consenting adults. All we do is monitor members’ reputations to ensure that they are who they claim to be. Yes, I said “we”; I’ll be making a share of the profits, and since my reputation will be affected you can be sure I’ll be keeping a close eye on things. Here’s the explanation I wrote for the site:
The internet has created a revolution in the ability to meet new people for friendship, dating and business. Websites, online forums and other tools allow people to meet up with like-minded others they would previously have had to rely on introductions, chance meetings, conventions and print ads to reach, with a dramatic increase in privacy and convenience. Unfortunately, some of the people who use these resources are not what they pretend to be; they may intentionally deceive others in order to stalk them, harm them, ruin their lives or draw them into other dangerous situations. The key to avoiding this is screening, which is to say examining a potential contact’s reputation before deciding whether to meet him in real life; expert screening consists of piecing together bits of information to view the whole picture that they create. Sometimes just noticing little details can turn out to be what helps you to identify a dangerous situation. There are a number of services which check out their members’ online backgrounds in order to declare them OK; some even maintain a roster of other members who have met each individual and found nothing to cause alarm. But any defense which can be designed, can also be subverted; unscrupulous and unprincipled individuals (such as members of law enforcement agencies looking for people to harass for consensual adult activities) may expend considerable effort to create false profiles and establish false reputations before moving in to harvest anyone who innocently meets up with the false member under the mistaken impression that he is someone looking for a mutually-beneficial arrangement, when actually he is a predator out to inflict harm on anyone he can trick.
Up2Date performs background checks upon members upon joining, just as other reputation services do; what makes us different is that we periodically re-check as long as they remain members to ensure that no new information has cropped up to tarnish that reputation. When faced with difficult situations, some people might succumb to pressure and wind up doing desperate things to improve their immediate circumstances; for example, a person who has been arrested may be inclined to inform on others or even cooperate in a scheme to entrap people who trust them. It is our mission to allow our members to maintain their privacy by providing a secure background check and screening system to help them protect themselves from potentially embarrassing or even dangerous situations; our unique series of screening techniques provide the safest, most up to date and reliable estimation of safety when taking online interactions to the next level with real-life meetings. Up2Date is ideal for MeetUp groups, swingers, escorts, clients, online dating or any other situation; simply message admin privately, or reply here for help.
So, there you are. The site should be fully active by the time you read this, and ready to enroll members; we hope it becomes a staple in the toolkits sex workers, clients, kinksters and even vanilla daters use to keep themselves safe.