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The $10bn question: what happened to the Marcos millions?

In the 21 years Ferdinand Marcos ran the Philippines, billions went missing. As his son stands for vice-president, will the stolen fortune ever be recovered?

In the early hours of a February morning in 1986, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos flew into exile. After 21 years as president of the Philippines, Marcos had rigged one too many elections. The army had turned against him, and the people had come out on to the streets in their thousands. The Marcoses had seen the crisis coming and been able to prepare their escape, so when they landed that morning at the Hickham USAF base in Hawaii, they brought plenty of possessions with them.

The official US customs record runs to 23 pages. In the two C-141 transport planes that carried them, they had packed: 23 wooden crates; 12 suitcases and bags, and various boxes, whose contents included enough clothes to fill 67 racks; 413 pieces of jewellery, including 70 pairs of jewel-studded cufflinks; an ivory statue of the infant Jesus with a silver mantle and a diamond necklace; 24 gold bricks, inscribed To my husband on our 24th anniversary; and more than 27m Philippine pesos in freshly-printed notes. The total value was $15m.

This was a fortune by any standards, easily enough to see the couple through the rest of their lives. Yet the new government of the Philippines knew this was only a very small part of the Marcoses wealth. The reality, they discovered, was that Ferdinand Marcos had amassed a fortune up to 650 times greater. According to a subsequent estimate by the Philippine supreme court, he had accumulated up to $10bn while in office.

Since his official salary had never risen above $13,500 a year, it was blazingly clear this was stolen wealth on the most spectacular scale. Some of his closest allies also stole billions. As their victim was a nation in which 40% of the people survive on less than $2 a day, the Republic of the Philippines decided urgently to try to retrieve its money.

Even amid the chaos of the revolution, the very first executive order issued by the new president, Cory Aquino, established the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the PCGG. It was to recover all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former president Ferdinand Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates and given the power to sequester any assets believed to be the proceeds of crime.

Thirty years later, the PCGG is still working, its 94 lawyers, researchers and administrators housed proudly in a building recovered from the Marcos family. The government gives it an annual budget of $2.2m. Its staff have traced money through jurisdictions all over the world and fought their way through hundreds of court cases. And yet something has gone terribly wrong: to date, the PCGG has recovered only a fraction of what was stolen by the Marcos network; no one has served a prison sentence for their part in the crime.

Bongbong
Bongbong Marcos campaigns for the vice-presidency. Photograph: Erik de Castro

Now, with its task still far from complete, its survival is threatened by a political development that would never have been anticipated by the crowds who swelled the streets in triumph as Marcos fled. The former presidents son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, generally known as Bongbong, is a frontrunner to become vice-president in the national elections on 9 May. If he wins, he would have the power to shut down the PCGG, as political allies of his family have tried to do in the past. The worlds biggest thief will have won.

Last month I was given unrestricted access to the enormous archive the PCGG has assembled in its years of global detective work: the presidents handwritten diary, frequently puffed with self-regard; the notepaper headed From the office of the president, with scribbled sums endlessly totting up his cash; minutes of company meetings with his comments scrawled in the margins; contracts; side agreements; records of multiple bank accounts; hundreds of share certificates; private investigators reports; and tens of thousands of pages of court judgments.

It needs to be said that this is not about Imelda Marcos and her infamous collection of shoes, although her shopping habit is real. She bought perfume not by the ounce but by the gallon. She hoarded old masters; at one point, she tried to buy Tiffany & Co. But in this particular circus she was only a clown, her crazy consumption deflecting attention from the big beast that was out of its cage.

The PCGG archive tells the inside story of the biggest theft in history, and of the master criminal who organised it: skilful, arrogant, cruel. It also opens a door into the offshore world revealed by the Panama Papers. Marcos was one of the first to exploit the rats nest of secret jurisdictions and hidden ownership then in the early stages of being built beneath the floorboards of public life.

But what is most important about Marcos is that he committed his crimes as a politician. His career starts with a cynicism that now seems familiar manipulating electorates, using money to buy power and power to make money. But he went one big step further in merging politics and finance, converting the instruments of government into one vast cash machine. A handful of other autocrats were also busy stealing from their people in that era in Haiti, Nicaragua, Iran but Marcos stole more and he stole better. Ultimately, he emerges as a laboratory specimen from the early stages of a contemporary epidemic: the global contagion of corruption that has since spread through Africa and South America, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Marcos was a model of the politician as thief.

A single document in the Manila archive marks the start of the detective story. In a sworn deposition, a young civil servant named Chito Roque describes how, on the night the Marcoses flew into exile, he worked his way through the crowds outside the presidential palace to the gates where anxious soldiers were posted. He was with his boss, a senior official in the new government, and they eventually found their way into the inner sanctum, the Marcoses private living quarters. There, they could see the signs of hasty flight: food still warm on the dining table, empty boxes, papers scattered on the floor, shredding machines stuffed with more paper.

His boss went home, but Chito wandered into the bedroom of the deposed president, where I saw a filing cabinet and I opened the first drawer and I saw a safe inside and there were numbers, a combination that was pasted on the door, so I followed the combination and opened the safe. Inside, he found records of bank accounts in Switzerland and Canada, share certificates and several letters signed by Marcos.

Those documents now sit in the offices of the PCGG, along with thousands more retrieved from the palace and the 50 or so other properties the Marcoses and their allies owned in the Philippines, and from homes and offices in the US. As the years have gone by, hundreds of thousands of pages have been added from other sources, all now sitting, neatly ordered, in a white, two-storey building near the centre of Manila. Outside, a six-lane highway is jammed with traffic, bellowing and belching fumes. Inside, all is calm and cool. A notice asks visitors kindly to leave their firearms at reception.

Ferdinand
Ferdinand Marcos with Richard Nixon after a meeting at the White House in 1969. Photograph: Getty Images

In the early years, the PCGG documents suggest, Marcos was naive in his crime. With sacks of cash from rich backers and help from the CIA, the bright young lawyer won elections to congress, then the senate, but he was nothing special, just another Mr Ten Per Cent selling his political influence. After he became President Ten Per Cent in 1965, his income from kickbacks for government contracts increased, but his guile went no further than stashing $215,000 in a New York bank in his own name. As far as the records show, he and Imelda took their first steps to real secrecy on 20 March 1968, when they used false names to deposit $950,000 in four accounts with Credit Suisse, he as William Saunders (he practised his new signature on the headed paper), she as Jane Ryan. By February 1970, the Swiss accounts were so loaded, the couple added an extra layer of concealment, transferring their ownership to foundations registered in Liechtenstein. Then Marcos started to get really clever.

On 21 September 1972, he declared martial law. As his diary records, the Nixon administration consented as he shut down congress, arrested his political opponents, took control of the media and courts, and suspended all civil rights. On the same day as a PCGG worker pointed out to me with some passion he took time off to open another Swiss bank account. In his diary a week later, reflecting on his reforms, Marcos wrote: The legitimate use of force on chosen targets is the incontestable secret of the reform movement.

Over the following nine years, an estimated 34,000 trade unionists, student leaders, writers and politicians were tortured with electric shocks, heated irons and rape; 3,240 men and women were dumped dead in public places; 398 others simply disappeared. With total power over politics, the president closed in on the countrys wealth.

This was no longer just about kickbacks. Marcos started to steal whole companies, using the crude tactics of a gangster. He wanted the nations electricity company, Meralco, owned by Eugenio Lopez, patriarch of one of the families who had run the country for centuries. He had Lopezs son charged with plotting to assassinate him, which carried the death penalty. The old oligarch handed over his company for $220 (it was worth $400m). To have gunmen is a gangsters requirement; to have gunmen in uniforms, with all the power of the state behind them, is a gangsters dream.

Yet most of Marcoss takeovers involved no violence. Martial law allowed him, literally, to write his own law: his decrees passed straight on to the statute book. When he wanted to take over the sugar industry, he set up companies and then issued decrees that allowed them to dominate the planting, milling and international marketing of Philippine sugar, which accounted for 27% of export earnings. He then created a Philippine Exchange Company, decreed it should handle all foreign sugar sales and used its monopoly position to buy from farmers at rock-bottom prices and sell at vast profit. This allowed him to buy Northern Lines, which had the contract to ship the sugar overseas. Finally, he decreed that the sugar industry be exempt from minimum-wage law, with the result that 500,000 labourers saw their income fall to less than $1 a day, making even more profit.

Marcoss
Marcoss scribbled sums counting his stolen millions. Photograph: Nick Davies

The PCGG archive shows how, in the same way, Marcos used his own companies to take over the three other key areas of agriculture: coconuts, tobacco and bananas. Granting himself government contracts, monopoly deals and tax exemptions, he levered his way into dominating industries across the whole economy logging and paper, meat, oil, insurance, shipping and airlines, beer and cigarettes, textiles, hotels and casinos, newspapers, radio and TV. His was an early and particularly rapacious version of privatisation.

Crucially, he saw his crime through a lawyers eyes. Of course people would observe that the Marcoses were suddenly very wealthy they could live with that. What mattered was to ensure that there was no evidence. Repeatedly, he set up his companies so that outwardly they belonged to other people. Marcos deployed dozens of cronies: relatives, golf partners, political allies, anybody who shared his greed. The crony would sign a deed transferring ownership of most of the business usually 60% but would leave a blank space for the name. Marcos would hold the deed and leave the space blank. There was no evidence that he owned the 60%.

Marcos stole, then stole more. The Japanese paid reparations for the second world war; he skimmed it and put the profit into his Swiss accounts. He stole international aid money, gold from the Central Bank, loans from international banks and military aid from the US. He decreed that more than a million impoverished coconut farmers must pay a levy, supposedly to improve the industry, amounting to $216m. He had already issued decrees to gift most of the coconut trade to one of his own companies; now he stole great chunks of the levy fund, all the while taking kickbacks on government contracts.

All this theft created a logistical problem: how to handle the tidal flow of money. The PCGG archive shows how Marcos set up his own banking system, using cronies to buy private banks and others to control the state banks. These were useful for stealing more money, in loans that would never be repaid, and for accessing foreign currency although eventually he set up his own specialist bank to trade currency on the black market.

Above all, the banks acted like a network of dykes receiving his ocean of income. Bank staff would make regular sometimes weekly trips to the palace, to pick up cheques and bundles of cash, which were then deposited in dozens of accounts. The millions were then channelled into Marcoss expanding reservoir of offshore accounts (he had 69 in Switzerland alone). Then all he and Imelda had to do was turn on the taps anywhere in the world and cash would come pouring out; cash that had been washed clean of its connection to crime.

For all its craziness, the gorging on consumer goods that followed now seems a natural progression. There were multiple houses for the extended family, a $5.5m yacht, private planes, helicopters and dozens of Mercedes-Benzes. When their youngest daughter was married in June 1983, they built a new runway and hotel, renovated a 200-year-old church, demolished nearby houses and rebuilt them in traditional style, imported carriages from Austria and horses from Morocco.

The men and women who work at the PCGG are driven by an anger. Each day they discover more detail of this crime, while its victims sleep on the pavements and in the slums around them. They are well aware of what the money could do for the impoverished people of the Philippines: if Marcos stole $10bn, this would have paid for the entire government budget for his last year in power three times over. And so they want not only to retrieve the stolen money, but to restore it. It is not easy. The Marcoses, with their money and their connections, have always been in the lead.

***

Consider the saga of the missing paintings. When the PCGG searched the presidents palace after he fled, they found that the walls of the ballroom displayed 23 pale patches where once there had been masterpieces. The Marcoses had a town house on East 66th Street in New York, where Imelda held many parties. Neighbours told investigators that they had seen two 18-wheel trailers pull up a few days after the couple went into exile: they had been loaded up with antiques and paintings, and driven away. By the time the house was searched a few weeks later, there were only brass plaques boasting of treasures that had once occupied its walls: the Madonna And Child by Michelangelo, the Marquesa de Santa Cruz by Goya, a couple of Monets, two Braques, a Pissarro, a Manet.

The
The vast PCGG archive of documents in Manila. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA/Corbis

Paperwork retrieved from their various homes revealed that the Marcoses had bought at least 304 valuable paintings. Almost all were now missing. The Philippine investigators were left with a few dozen inferior works abandoned in some of the Philippine homes, and one Henri Fantin-Latour found wrapped in a blanket under a maids bed in one of their New York apartments, apparently an attempt to thieve from the thief. They got a judge to order galleries and auction houses not to sell anything that might have come from the Marcoses. There was not much else they could do.

During their first year, the PCGG received a little help from several former Marcos staff and allies. A financial aide, Rolando Gapud, gave them details of five Swiss bank accounts. By Marcos standards, they did not contain very much (only $356m) and the banks refused to hand it over. All the PCGG could do was persuade a Swiss court to freeze the accounts. Gapud and others began to disclose the scale of Marcoss ownership of the Philippine economy. In Manila, the government set up an anti-graft court; by the end of 1986, the PCGG was opening cases against Marcos and his network.

One of those who came forward was Oscar Cario, former manager of the New York branch of the Philippine National Bank. In a sworn statement, he claimed he had created accounts for two fictitious companies to conceal the Marcos millions. It emerged that the paintings had changed hands with the help of some powerful connections. The court heard that some part had been played by Adnan Khashoggi, the notorious Saudi arms dealer. An Australian TV programme claimed that dozens of Marcos paintings had been flown out of the US on a private plane; 38 others had been shipped from Hawaii. Acting on a request from the PCGG, French police raided two of Khashoggis apartments and found paperwork confirming that many of the masterpieces were now in his hands.

Khashoggi argued that he had made bona fide purchases from the couple, of the paintings and of four Manhattan skyscrapers. But the US authorities claimed that the documents he produced to support this had been backdated, and formally accused him of obstructing the course of justice.

Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to New York, where he joined Marcos, Imelda and a network of others indicted under anti-racketeering law. But Ferdinand Marcos died in September 1989, before the case came to trial; he was 72 and had been in a hospital in Honolulu for months. Without Marcos, some evidence became inadmissible. There were reports that the White House was leaning on the prosecutors to go soft, that there was too much potential embarrassment for the last five US presidents. Imelda told the court she was a poor widow who knew nothing about her husbands activities. Khashoggi protested his innocence and was acquitted of any offence. The transcript of the trial runs to thousands of pages. It ended in July 1990, with all the defendants declared not guilty on all counts.

The US authorities agreed to take no further legal action if Khashoggi surrendered the paintings and the skyscrapers. But when the skyscrapers were finally sold, it turned out they had been mortgaged to the hilt by the Marcoses. The city demanded unpaid property taxes. Though the buildings total sale price was $50m, the Philippine people received only $5.7m. Most of the dozens of paintings Khashoggi is believed to have handled were no longer in his possession. The PCGG retrieved just 26.

For the investigators, this was a frustrating journey. Aquinos government, which had launched the commission in the heat of revolution, rapidly stepped on the brake. Her supporters say there was no option: Marcos and his cronies owned so much of the economy that to seize their assets would crash the banks. Her critics, meanwhile, argue that her government was always compromised: the Aquinos were one of the wealthiest families in the country; the old oligarchy was back in power. Whatever the motive, the PCGG was ordered to seize nothing, but instead to work through the courts. Over the following few years, it became clear that this had handed the initiative to the Marcoses, who had the money to hire the very best lawyers. Soon, dozens of cases were sidetracked by endless technical argument.

Just as Marcoss wealth was too great to seize, so his political influence was too big to beat. Two weeks after the revolution, a source in New York had shown the PCGG a report revealing that, even before he was deposed, his allies in US intelligence were aware that he had stolen up to $10bn. But the CIA refused to disclose what they knew. The Japanese government made it clear to Aquino that they were not going to hand over information, and aid packages could be in jeopardy if the PCGG pushed too hard. In the UK, Margaret Thatchers government said it was not our business.

Ronald
Ronald Reagan dances with Imelda Marcos, while President Marcos dances with Nancy, during a state visit to Manila in 1969. Photograph: Getty Images

The problem for these governments was that they had turned a blind eye while their companies had waded into the muck alongside Marcos taking his money without asking where it came from. In some cases, Marcos, in turn, had paid bribes to senior politicians and made illegal contributions to election campaigns, including those of US presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. (When this surfaced in 1986, they said they had not known where the money came from.)

A PCGG veteran of nearly 30 years has a special frustration with the US. He says they have never handed over all the paperwork seized from Marcos when he arrived in Hawaii, and he flicks through the copies he has: See? Some pages which are blank, some inventory pages which are blank. We think they have redacted transactions involving US organisations. They were partners in theft. And he pauses to consider how the US would react if some other nation seized evidence of their most prolific criminal and handed it over in redacted form.

***

By the autumn of 1991, Imelda Marcos was feeling sufficiently safe to go back to the Philippines with her three adult children. In New York, the PCGG picked up rumours that some of the paintings were still there and being sold by a professional dealer. They hired a firm of private investigators, IGI, to watch the dealer, and established that he had some of the Marcos collection, including Goyas portrait of the Marquesa de Santa Cruz.

Early in June 1992, the investigators discovered the dealer had been warned that they were on to him. The next morning, they watched as five men and women of Filipino appearance turned up outside the dealers apartment in two vans, loaded up boxes and large blue suitcases, and drove out to JFK airport, where all five checked in as first-class passengers along with their unusual cargo. With no legal power to intervene, the investigators could only watch as they flew off to Manila.

The pattern of impunity was set. In Seattle in December 1989, a jury found that the Marcoses were implicated in a plot to murder two Filipino union activists who had been shot there in 1981. The jury ordered them to pay $15.1m compensation to the victims families. The money has not been paid. In Hawaii in 1995, a court found the regime had abused the human rights of thousands whod been tortured and killed, and ordered that Ferdinands estate pay nearly $2bn compensation. Less than 1% of that has been paid. Having returned to Manila, in September 1993 Imelda was convicted of personally defrauding the state in a land deal while Marcos was still in power. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison but bailed while she lodged an appeal. Five years later the supreme court threw out her conviction on technical grounds.

Soon, the PCGG was running into more problems, as Marcos allies found their way back into power and argued that the failure to retrieve more stolen money proved the commission was pointless and should be closed. Worse, the PCGG was tainted by the corruption it was trying to expose. Some officials were caught exploiting empty Marcos properties and pocketing excessive expenses. Twice the weakened PCGG made compromise agreements with the Marcos family that were so generous, the Philippine courts blocked them.

By the late 1990s, Imelda had been elected to the Philippine House of Representatives and was emboldened to give provocative interviews in which she declared there is more money the government is not yet aware of and we own practically everything in the Philippines. Increasingly secure, her confidence got the better of her. In 2007, she gave more interviews and posed for photographs that clearly showed eight of the missing paintings gleaming on her walls, including Goyas portrait. Another old master hung on the wall of her office in the House of Representatives.

The PCGG went to court for an order to recover them. But with the Marcoses opposing every move, the case took six years. When they finally raided Imeldas office and four of her homes in October 2014, they again found only pale patches on the walls where the eight paintings had once hung and Imelda crying into her handkerchief.

Imelda
Imeldas diamond and pearl tiara. Photograph: Joel Nito/AFP/Getty Images

Even so, the PCGG has dragged some victories out of the swamp. In 2004, they finally retrieved the money from the five Swiss accounts. At an even slower pace, they seized the assets of half a dozen crony companies and recovered most of the coconut levy. They auctioned paintings, jewellery, silver and dozens of houses.

In total, the PCGG has succeeded in retrieving $3.7bn. That amounts to less than half the top estimate for what was taken by Marcos alone. In spite of their efforts, they have watched his associates retire to a life of self-indulgence with most of their fortunes intact. They have dozens of cases still bogged down in the courts, including 22 that started in 1987 or earlier.

The head of the PCGG, Richard Amurao, is a conspicuously decent lawyer, aged 41, who spent five years as a commissioner before becoming chairman last year. He points out how a single piece of Imeldas jewellery could have paid for 2,000 young Filipinos to go through college. He is not giving up, yet reflects that it has been exhausting, and hard to see how they can win. It is like the traffic jams in Manila. You begin to accept that it just is this way.

Deep in the vaults of the Central Bank, he says, there is a large collection of Imeldas jewellery, due to be auctioned next month. It includes most of what was seized 30 years ago by US customs, another stash found in the palace, and a third intercepted at Manila airport as a friend of Imeldas attempted to fly out of the country. Last year, Christies valued the collection; they identified treasures that had previously been missed, including a tiara with 25 pearls in a diamond frame seized from the Russian tsars family in the 1918 revolution. It is estimated to be worth more than $4m. Amuraos workers have invented their own word to describe anybody who is extravagantly greedy: Imeldific.

What will happen if Bongbong Marcos is elected vice-president? Will he allow his mother access to the vaults to retrieve the jewellery she insists is hers? Will he kill the PCGG entirely? Bongbong, 58, started his political career before his family was exiled, becoming vice-governor of Ilocos Norte province in 1981, aged 23. Six years after exile, he returned to become a congressman. He recently denied any involvement in the legal moves that have blocked so much of the PCGGs work. In February, Amurao issued a tough response, saying his claim was belied by court records which show his involvement. He listed cases in which Bongbong and his mother are still laying claim to what the PCGG says is ill-gotten wealth. Imelda is now 86, and actively campaigning for her son.

The work is not finished, Amurao says. There is no statute of limitation on seeking justice. But the passing of time makes it more and more difficult to find new leads. Time is an ally for those who want us to forget. And if Bongbong wins, we dont really see how we can do our work not with the son of the former president only a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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Backpage’s halt of adult classifieds will endanger sex workers, advocates warn

Website ended adult content ads amid government pressure, which some say will make it harder for officials to investigate trafficking and support victims

The shutdown of the adult classifieds section on Backpage.com will endanger the lives of sex workers and make it harder for officials to investigate trafficking and support victims, civil rights advocates said.

Backpage, a popular Craigslist-style website where workers have long advertised a range of services, announced on Monday that unconstitutional government censorship has forced the company to remove its adult content. The closure comes after prosecutors across the US have aggressively targeted the site and its executives, claiming that Backpage facilitates and profits from pimping and human trafficking.

But sex workers have long argued that Backpage provides a safe public platform to vet clients and report predators, and that without it, the industry will be pushed further underground. On Tuesday, activists said the termination had removed a source of income for many vulnerable people and would force some with no choice but to work on the streets where they are much more likely to face violence and police harassment.

A lot of lives are being destroyed, said Kristen DiAngelo, executive director of the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Sacramento. These are human and civil rights abuses. How many sex workers across the US now have no way to support themselves?

Newly elected US senator Kamala Harris led the fight against Backpage as Californias attorney general, repeatedly filing charges against the sites operators, claiming the platform was an online brothel. But judges across the country have continually sided with the website and first amendment advocates, citing a law that is foundational to free speech on the internet, which dictates that platforms are not liable for the postings of users.

Despite the legal victories, including the supreme courts decision on Monday not to hear an appeal against Backpage, the US Senate has intensified scrutiny of the company with a report and hearing on Tuesday, leading the site to replace its adult section with a banner that reads CENSORED.

Targeting Backpage, activists say, is part of a broader campaign by liberal and conservative lawmakers in America to further criminalize sex work, which research has shown does little to protect victims of trafficking while making it harder for consenting adult workers to safely do their job.

Targeting
Targeting Backpage, activists say, is part of a broader campaign by liberal and conservative lawmakers in America to further criminalize sex work. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Its really a sad day, said Lois Lee, founder and president of Children of the Night, a national hotline and shelter program for sex trafficking victims.

Lees organization had advertised its services on Backpage, and she said she helped build partnerships between the company and police so that law enforcement could use the platform to investigate trafficking.

It was a useful tool, she said. Thats gone now.

Shuttering Backpage does not stop pimping, but it does make it harder for authorities and for sex workers to detect that kind of dangerous activity, said Maxine Doogan, president of the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project.

Theres no research that says removing advertising sites reduces trafficking, said Doogan, noting that women used the site to carefully screen clients, who could provide references to other Backpage workers. Everybody is scrambling.

People are panicked. Theyre thinking about paying bills and buying food, said Kimberlee Cline, a Sacramento-based sex worker who used Backpage. Theyre saying if they cant make money on Backpage today, they have to go and be on the streets tonight.

On the streets, she added, theres no screening at all. Its just based on gut.

The ongoing political campaign to force Backpage to close is another example of how US lawmakers ignore sex workers in policy debates on trafficking, said Ellyn Bell, a former nonprofit director who has written about child exploitation.

Sex workers voices need to be taken into consideration, she said, adding, It really comes down to decriminalization. There has to be a platform where people feel safe.

In recent years, the shuttering of other adult services sites has left workers with very few options. In some communities, a loss of online ad platforms has directly led to reports of increased arrests of sex workers and sexual assaults on the job.

Since the Backpage news this week, DiAngelo said sex workers are already getting threats from pimps who are telling women they will now need to rely on them to get work.

Were going to see so many more people trafficked and pimped. Violence is going to escalate, she said, in tears. The bottom line is were going to see bloodshed.

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Do The Dallas Cowboys Mismanage Their Money? – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Do The Dallas Cowboys Mismanage Their Money?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
They will have to take a dead money hit of $19.6 million, which will be painful for sure, and push Dallas to #1 in dead money this year. But this will be counterbalanced by having a young starting quarterback due to make only $2.1 million over the next
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Dear Academics, It Is Time To Write, Read And Properly Cite More Blogs – Forbes


Forbes

Dear Academics, It Is Time To Write, Read And Properly Cite More Blogs
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The world of academic blogging has changed greatly over the past twenty years, but more and more professionals–librarians, professors, scientists, graduate students, researchers and many more–are using the online forum as a means of speaking to the …

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Facebook considering a ‘tip’ button for user to make money from their posts

Despite continuing its own hunt for great revenue, it looks like Facebook wants to put some money back in the hands of its users.

The social media giant distributed a survey this week asking select members their preferences on ways of giving money to others, or donating to a cause. The survey, first spotted by The Verge, lists a number of potential ways to move cash around including a tip jar, donation option, and call-to-action button.

The Verge

It’s not clear if or when any changes will occur, and the language within the survey suggests any potential additions may only be available to verified members. If implemented, the features would mark the first time users are given the ability to receive money directly for their Facebook updates.

This is one of the many major moves Facebook may use to get people and companies posting content. Last week we reported that Facebook would start rolling out Instant Article, a publishing platform that hosts content direct on the company’s servers for fast viewing. Last year Facebook said it would begin giving video creators money for the ads that sit alongside its videos, the same sort of thing Youtube has been doing since 2007.

While it is still unknown when or even if users will start making money for their own posts, now seems like a great time to start cooking up good ideas for Facebook updates. Who knows, you might make a living out of it one day.

H/T The Verge | Photo viaSqueezomatic/Flickr

The Daily Dot

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How To Start A Blog That Earns A Real Income – Forbes


Forbes

How To Start A Blog That Earns A Real Income
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For those that are looking to start a blog and earn a real income, this is the ultimate freedom. However, this digital nomad lifestyle isn't that new. People have been making money online for decades now. And as the internet saturates more and more of

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Live blogging the latest on a heavy snow threat Monday night into Tuesday (UPDATES) – Washington Post (blog)


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… * Winter storm warning for areas along and west of Interstate 95 in D.C. area, including the District, 7 p.m. Monday to 2 p.m. Tuesday | Winter storm watch for Stafford, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties *. Watches, warnings, and advisories

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50 legit ways you can earn some extra cash from home

Image: ladysuzi

Whether youre a stay-at-home parent, college student, or just looking to pay down your debt, we could all use some extra cash.

While we could find a part-time gig, like driving for Uber, or start earning a passive income through affiliate marketing, wouldnt be it nice if you were able to make some fast cash from the friendly confines of your home?

That may sound too good to be true, it is possible if you do so, like these 50 ways that you can make an easy $100 this month from home.

1. Have a yard sale. We all have junk taking up space in our homes. Take a couple of hours to go through your house and look for the items that youre no longer using, such as DVDs, strollers, or kitchen tools and appliances. Then have a yard sale, weather depending of course.

2. Sell your valuables online. Yard sales are an easy way to make some quick cash, but some of your items will definitely fitch higher prices online. Items like antiques or your old Star Wars collection are better suited on sites like eBay. The same is true for larger items like playhouses or bicycles. Place them on Craigslist or a Facebook page so that they buyer can pick them up at your home.

3. Sell your used books. Sites like Bookscouter ensure that you get the best price available for your used books, as opposed to the pennies that you would make by selling them to a bookstore.

4. Sell your gadgets. If you have some old cell phones and tablets lying around then sell them on Gazelle. Just remember that youll make the most money by selling newer devices that are still in-demand.

5. Sell your crafts. Thanks to sites like Etsy you can easily sell your handmade crafts online by creating an online storefront in just a matter of minutes.

6. Drop ship. Dont have anything to sell? Try dropshipping. This is where you simply sell products for a manufacture on eBay or Amazon. The best part? The manufacture handles the shipping and handling for you.

7. Resell unused gift cards. We all have received gift cards from stores that we dont frequent. Instead of letting them go to waste you can sell them online through places like Raise.com. For example, you can sell a $150 Macys gift card and receive around $116. The funds are sent via Direct Deposit, PayPal or check.

8. Become a direct marketer. You’re probably familiar with companies like Tupperware or Avon where you sell products or services directly either online or by hosting a party. But, those are just two examples of direct marketing companies where you can make some extra dough each month.

9. Rent out a spare room. Why let that spare room go unattended? Rent it out on Airbnb to make some quick cash on the side.

10. Rent out your parking space/driveway. If you reside in an area where there are a lot of commuters, or in close proximity to a venue thats hosting a popular event, then consider renting out your parking space or driveway on JustPark or Craigslist.

11. Rent out your vehicle. You dont have to drive for Uber or Lyft to monetize your vehicle. You can it out to your fellow drivers via Turo.

12. Rent out your clothes. Do you have a closet full of clothes that you arent wearing? Rent them on RentNotBuy.

13. Rent out household items. Speaking of RentNotBuy, you can pretty much rent any of your household items out to people. Anything works to rent out, from bicycles, cameras, power tools, and kitchen equipment can all be rented out.

14. Try out Paribus. Paribus is becoming one of my favorite ways to make some fast money. After signing up for free, Paribus scans your emails and looks for receipts from sites like Amazon of Target. It theres been a price drop, then you get a refund.

15. Join Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a popular rewards site where users get paid to browse the internet, complete surveys, watch videos, shop online, or play games. Youll be rewarded by gift cards, and it may take some time to earn $100, but its an incredibly easy way to make money.

16. Join Ebates. With Ebates you earn cash back every time that you shop online. You even get a free $10 gift card just by signing-up.

17. Take online surveys. Getting paid to participate in online surveys won’t make you a millionaire, but sites like Springboard Panel, Harris Poll Online, and Ipsos Panel will pay you up to $95 for surveys that only eat-up 15-2o minutes of your time.

18. Test websites. Companies like User Testing pay people to test the navigation and function of a website. You may have to answer a couple of questions as well, but the entire process only takes about 15 minutes and you have the opportunity to make $30 per hour.

19. Fix search engines. Sites like Leapforce pay you to evaluate search engines. All you have to do is conduct researches on predefined queries. Then you analyze the results and provide feedback.

20. Review stuff. If you have solid writing skills, and love sharing your opinion, then start getting paid to write online reviews on sites like Review Stream and Vindale Research. Youll usually get paid PayPal and payout can range between $25 to $100.

21. Take part in an online focus group. You can also participate in online focus groups, such as ProOpinion. Youll be paid through through a check, gift card, or PayPal deposit.

22. Become a mock jury member. There are attorneys who turn to online mock jurors in order to receive feedback on their cases before they go to trial. Thats when they use sites OnlineVerdict. Cases take-up between 20 minutes to an hour of your time and pay you between $20 to $60.

23. Data entry. Inputting information for companies into a computer system isnt the most stimulating work. On the brightside, data entry jobs dont require any prior experience and its an easy way to make around $10 per hour from the comfort of your home.

24. Customer service representative. As long as you have a landline, internet connection, and decent communication skills, then you can earn between $8-$15 per hour as a customer service rep during your free-time. You can look for customer service rep jobs on Indeed.

25. Tech support. If youre tech savvy then you can make around $13.50 per hour handling technical questions or concerns that customers have regarding a product or service. Checkout Careerbuilder for possible tech support gigs.

26. Bookkeeper. Despite the misconception, you dont have to be a CPA to become a bookkeeper. As long as youre organized, you can make $60 per hour as a virtual bookkeeper.

27. Virtual assistant. Virtual assistants handle a variety of tasks that range from email management, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, or booking hotels. You can make anywhere between $10 to $30 via job boards like Upwork or People Per Hour.

28. Turn your trash into cash. Before you throw out those ink cartridges, wine corks, food packages, moving boxes, or unwanted coupons sell them online. You wont make a fortune, but its one of the easiest ways to pick-up some extra cash. The Penny Hoarder has a great article on how to make money from you trash.

29. Work for Amazon. You cant make a living through Amazon Mechanical Turk, but its a nice way to bring-in some extra cash each month by completing easy tasks like writing product descriptions or identifying performers on music CDs. These tasks usually take under an hour to complete, but youre only paid $6 to $10.

30. Freelance write. If you have a flare for words then you can get paid to write about your hobbies or experience in topics ranging from parenting to marketing. Besides blog posts and articles, there are people who are looking to pen White Papers, website copy, or eBooks. Freelance websites like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer are great places to find writing gigs. Here is a guide to freelancing that I put together to help.
31. Technical freelancing. Do you have technical skills like programming or graphic design? Then you can use the same freelance websites I just mentioned to land a sweet side gig. Here is a guide to programming that will help you.

32. Tutor/Teach. Whether you’re helping a high school student with math or teaching people to play an instrument or dance, you can make cash. You can tutor or teach people skills either by creating your own online course, or having them come to your home.

33. Play online games. With sites like InboxDollars you can compete for rewards by winning card or puzzle games.

34. At-home daycare. Do you know a lot of people who need a babysitter while theyre at work? Then start your own at-home daycare business. Just remember to secure the proper requirement and insurance, which vary from state-to-state.

35. Pet-sit. If you enjoy the company of dogs and cats then you can find pet-sitting opportunities on sites like Rover.com. The pets stay at your home and you can rake-in around $30 per night.

36. Sewing and alterations. If you have sewing skills that you charge people for alterations, repairs, or even for making handmade bags, bedding, or drapes.

37. Start a referral service. There are a couple of ways that can cash-in on referrals. The first is referring new employees at your current place of employment. The other is referring new businesses and clients to attorneys, doctors, lawyers, local vendors, realtors, or baby-sitters.

38. Travel agent. While there are plenty of websites that can help find the best deals on airline tickets or lodging, not everyone has the time to keep tabs on these deals. After all, prices change daily. Thats why theres still a market for online travel agents.

39. Share your expert advice. Are you knowledgeable in a specific area? Then start cashing in on your expert advice by answering questions on sites like JustAnswer. Even if youre not an expert, you can get a $50 Amazon gift card by just referring an expert.

40. Do paid forum posting. In order to build their authority and trustworthiness, new online website owners will pay writers to create quality posts on on their blog, as well as respond to tweets and moderate online forums. PaidForumPosting.com is a great place to start.

41. Translate documents. If youre bilingual, then you can make between $8 to $18 per hour. Unbabel, for example, pays translators every week through PayPal or Skrill.

42. Consulting. Since you may already be an expert in your field, then start a side-consulting business. Whether if its instructing a business owner to become more eco-friendly or assisting a non-profit with their fundraising efforts, your clients can visit you at your home office or even online through tools like Skype or GoToMeeting.

43. Get healthy. This is probably one of those its too good to be true tactics, but with sites like HealthyWage you can actually make money by sitting a weight loss goal. If you achieve the goal you could get rewarded anywhere from $20 to $500 per month.

44. Watch videos. Both Swagbucks and InboxDollars will pay you to watch movie previews or the latest YouTube videos. Its a pretty simple way to make at least a hundred bucks per month. If you search around you may even be able to make a couple of bucks watching your favorite TV shows on Netflix.

45. Peer-to-peer lend. With the emergence of peer-to-peer lending sites like Prosper and Lending Club you can become an investor and make money from the loan that you issued.

46. Open a new checking or savings account. Believe it or not some banks will give you $250 just for opening up a new checking or savings account. These promotions change frequently, so just do a quick online search for the best bank account bonuses and promotions.

47. Signup up for a rewards credit card. Banks that issue credit cards are also enticing people to sign-up by offering rewards like cash back on every purchase that you make. Im in no advocating that you put yourself in credit card debt, but if you have the means to pay off your balance each month its one of the easiest ways to pick-up some extra cash.

48. Enter contests/competitions. The odds of winning a contest or sweeptake are low, but the more you enter the more likely you are to win a prize. Entering a competition may take a little more effort than most of the other options included in this list, but if you win, the prizes could add-up to thousands of dollars. And, if the prize is a product, you can always flip it.

49. Check for unclaimed funds. The government may actually owe you money from tax refunds or unclaimed back wages. Other unclaimed funds could be from unclaimed deposits from banks or credit unions and savings bonds. USA.gov is an excellent resource to locate these unclaimed funds.

50. Change your spending habits. This may sound more difficult than it is, but if you create a budget you can quickly see some of your unnecessary expenses each month. It could be anything from changing your cable plan to cancelling unused subscriptions or memberships. Any changing of little habits or doing one or two of the suggestions on this list can add-up to an extra couple of hundred dollars in your bank account next month.

John Rampton is a serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivations speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.

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30 Stars Who Had Surprising Jobs Before They Became Famous

Although your favorite stars might have lifestyles of the rich and famous now, it wasn’t always that way.

Yes, it’s true. They had “normal” jobs before becoming famouswell, if you consider being an adult film set decorator, a Hooters girl, and a lion tamer “normal.”

Vince Vaughn

This Internship star obviously didnt do one at the YMCA, where he was fired as a lifeguard for being late too often probably not a good thing in that whole, saving lives thing.

Image:WikiMedia

Amy Adams

In order to save up for her first car, she worked at Hooters as a waitress. Calm down. She was 18.

Image:WikiMedia

Christopher Walken

As a kid, he worked in a small circus and was in charge of doing tricks with a female lion named Sheba.

Image: Twitter

Nicole Kidman

After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she dropped out of school at age 17 to work as a massage therapist and help with finances.

Image: WikiMedia

Channing Tatum

No surprise here, but the Magic Mike star was a stripper for eight months when he was 19.

Image: Flipboard

Victoria Beckham

The Spice Girl started as a sperm on roller skates for a BBC sex-education TV show called Body Matters.

Image: WikiMedia

Jon Hamm

What did he do before becoming a mad man? Porn. Well, he was a set dresser in the soft-core porn industry on Cinemax.

Image: Reddit

Hugh Jackman

Before he was a Broadway star and superhero, he was a gym teacher and a party clown, charging $50 a show.

Image: WikiMedia

Rachel McAdams

When she was 16 and directing kids theater, she started working at McDonalds to pay the bills and stayed there for three years.

Image: Huffington Post

Jay-Z

He was a crack dealer, and admits that it helped him become business savvy because it taught him about budgets, what you can spend, and what you need to re-up.

Image: WikiMedia

Jon Bon Jovi

Its his lifeand he spent part of it making Christmas decorations to make money which I presume he spent on product for his hair.

Image: WikiMedia

George Clooney

He had a string of jobs before finding success as an actor, including cutting tobacco, working in a ladies shoe store, and selling insurance door-to-door.

Image:WikiMedia

Whoopi Goldberg

Before she was a comedian, she worked as not only a bricklayer, but also a beautician in a morgue.

Image: WikiMedia

Patrick Dempsey

He was a juggler and placedsecond in the International Jugglers Competition in the Junior Division in 1982 and 1983.

Image: WikiMedia

Jennifer Hudson

The singer (and Weight Watchers spokeswoman) worked at Burger King until she was 18, when she decided to quit and pursue her love of music.

Image: PopSugar

Johnny Depp

Need something to write this one down? Depp sold pens over the phone for a solicitor.

Image: BuzzFeed

Jennifer Aniston

Did your favorite Friend work in a coffee shop like she did on the show? Nope, but she did work as a telemarketer and a waitress while going to acting auditions.

Image: WikiMedia

Kanye West

Although its hard to imagine him doing anything that wasnt completely centered around Kanye, he did work as a sales assistant at the GAP. Ima let you finish, buttry on these khakis first.

Image: WikiMedia

Helen Mirren

Before she was a Dame and a screen icon, she worked at amusement park in Southend as a “blagger,” to attract customers to the rides.

Image: WikiMedia

Matt LeBlanc

Before going to New York to be a hand model at age 18, he tried to follow in his grandfathers footsteps and train to be a carpenter.

Image:WikiMedia

Tom Cruise

Before going full-on Scientologist, he attended a seminary before getting asked to leave for stealing liquor from a couple of priests.

Image: WikiMedia

Demi Moore

She actually dropped out of high school at age 16 to work as a debt collector before trying to get into modeling, and then eventually into acting.

Image: Huffington Post

Danny DeVito

Ironically, he was a hairdresser and then a hairdresser for a mortuary.

Image: WikiMedia

Lucy Liu

To make ends meet while acting, she worked as a secretary during the weeks, and on weekends, during the day, worked as an aerobics instructor and in the evening worked as a hostess.

Image: Imgur

Gerard Butler

Although he has a law degree from Glasgow University, he got fired from his first job and hasnt practiced law since.

Image: WikiMedia

Angelina Jolie

She has said that if she failed to make it as an actress in Hollywood, she would have pursued a career as a funeral director.

Image: PopSugar

Ozzy Osbourne

Its no surprise that the Prince of Darkness had a rather dark job he spent time working in a slaughterhouse.

Image: WikiMedia

Eva Mendes

She had a thing for the mall (and food) as a teen and worked at a pizza place and then Hot Dog on a Stick.

Image: WikiMedia

Jim Carrey

After his father lost his job, this funny guy dropped out of high school and worked as a janitor to try and help with the finances.

Image: WikiMedia

Mick Jagger

Before becoming the rock icon he is known as today, he worked as a porter in a psychiatric hospital.

Image: Huffington Post

Via: BuzzFeed

I guess it’s a good thing they didgive up their day jobs.

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At the Malware Museum, a nostalgic gallery of old-school viruses

Usually when you end up with a virus on your computer, you do everything possible to get rid of it. Over at the Internet Archive, viruses are being preserved in the new Malware Museum.

Launched on Friday, the Malware Museum gives users the opportunity to experience viruses from the 1980s and 1990s. The defanged versions of the malicious programs were curated byMikko Hypponen, the chief research officer of Finnish security company F-Secure.

Hypponen told the Daily Dot that he has been collecting old viruses since he got started in the business 25 years ago. Upon seeing the Internet Archive’s efforts to preserve all parts of the Web he teamed up with Jason Scott, a historian at the Internet Archive, to breathe new life into the malware of yesteryear.

It’s made possible thanks to the emulation capabilities built into the Internet Archive that simulate old computer systems right inside the browser. Only weeks before the Malware Museum opened, Scott announced the previously hidden DOS emulation capabilities of the Internet Archive. It’s the same feature that allows the site to play host to thousands of classic games that can be played without requiring any additional software.

The viruses on display behind the glass of the Malware Museum show a wide variety of programs designed to attack MS-DOS computers. With no bite left in them, the emulated attackers look closer to pieces of simple, animated art than anything malicious.

“I suppose many old-school virus writers were using their viruses as a means of expression. That’s why we get all these displays of animations, sound, and pictures,” Hypponen said. “Some would call it art.”

With the friendly look, it’s easy to dismiss the viruses as little more than crude creations, but at the time they could certainly cause some major inconveniences. Hypponen that many of the viruses would “be programmed to overwrite files or format hard drives.”

He explained that the malware could be programmed to issue the attack at specific times or act completely at random. “In addition, they would all replicate to new computers, which often lead to compatibility problems.”

The viruses undoubtably caused issueespecially in an era when the practice of keeping backups was less common and required more effort. But it’s hard not to see some of the bugs as being somewhat playful rather than threatening.

The Casino virus hosted in the museum is a perfect example of the clever but problem-causing nature of the old-time malware. The program would make copies of a computer’s files, then overwrite part of the system to make those files inaccessible. The only way the victim could get access back was to win at a game of blackjack.

There isn’t a ton of resemblance between the malware of today and the type collected in the Malware Museum. Not only do the attacks take many different forms now, and rarely are accompanied by vibrant displays, but the motivation is also considerably differentand more sinister.

“Twenty-five years ago, people were writing viruses because they thought it was interesting or fun,” Hypponen said. “Nowadays, most virus writers write malware to make money. Money is being made with credit card-stealing keyloggers, banking trojans, and ransom trojans. Old, happy hackers have pretty much completely disappeared.”

It’s easy to imagine Hypponen is simply nostalgic for a different era when it comes to malware, but his idea of the “happy hackers” does reflect the first virus. Created by Pakistani brothers Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi in 1986, they described their bug as a friendly virus, that was not made to destroy any data. The same couldn’t be said for the hundreds of thousands of malicious programs that have come since.

If you’d like to experience viruses in a way that won’t require you to backup all your files and run an antivirus when you’re done, the Malware Museum is the safest choice.

Photo via Christiaan Colen/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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