Sex addiction is progressive - the addict needs more and more and doesn't care who he hurts or uses. The internet has made it far too easy for johns/ hobbyists/ addicts... and their objectified view of other people carries into the real & online 'lives' affecting everyone they come in contact with, sooner or later. - Fighter)
by Mike Brunker
Demonstrating the adaptability that helped earn it the title of "world's oldest profession," prostitution is thriving on the Internet, slipping into comfortable new guises like sex-for-money chatrooms and Web sites showcasing fancy call girls and boys (escorts or providers).
But with the continued expansion of the online sex trade, and the appearance of numerous civilian vigilante groups determined to halt its spread, pressure is building to rein in the hustlers and hookers of cyberspace.
The use of the Internet to advertise prostitution has received far less attention from law enforcement, politicians and the media than its notorious cousin, online pornography.
Crusaders like Pete Hampton, a former lawman who established the Web Police to serve as an online clearing house for complaints of online criminal activity, say that when they attempt to bring prostitution cases to the attention of authorities, they are often met with indifference. (Dorsky had sites of scantily dressed women, lingerie bots and 'schoolgirl' type photos in his internet repetoire - as part of his SCRIPT)
"We find very few will even touch it," Hampton said.
A difficult issue
"It's hard to bring this issue to an investigative agency's attention," agreed Linda Fairstein, chief of the sex crimes prosecution unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. "...Government resources, especially with local police agencies, don't begin to compare with what what Web-literate people can do in terms of crime, prostitution in many ways being the least of it."Federal authorities, however, insist that they have quietly been pursuing the most serious cases for some time.
Federal cases have almost exclusively focused on cases involving children, but local authorities are beginning to demonstrate a limited interest in virtual vice, such as on Craigslist.
Police in Florida, Nebraska and New Jersey have in recent months busted at least five online "escort" services that allegedly were providing sex for money. Only one involved minors: A case in Palm Beach County, Fla., in which 27-year-old Jay Ryan Quinn stands accused of prostituting underage runaway girls through his Web site.
Though there are no numbers to quantify the prevalence of prostitution operations on the Internet, as neither the federal government nor the states keep track of such cases.
But Hampton, of the (now defunct) Web Police, says he and his staff receive an average of 50 to 75 reports of prostitution each week out of a total of 1,500 complaints.
Echoing the complaints of police departments around the world, Hampton says he and his staff engage in triage to focus on the most important cases -- those involving children.
"We have to prioritize," he said. "... If this is simply a matter of a call girl service or an individual female advertising her services on the Internet, and she's of legal age of consent, this is not a priority case. If this is someone advertising child prostitution or selling children on the Internet, it does become a priority case."
Donna, a volunteer undercover decoy who lures chatroom pedophiles into the arms of police, says anyone who doubts how widespread the online sex trade has become should try posing as a 15-year-old girl in an adult chatroom like AOL's "Barely Legal" forum.
"I can count to 10, and by that time I'm already being hit on," said Donna, who asked that her last name not be used to diminish the threat of retaliation from those she has helped prosecute. "... Individuals are coming in and sending me private messages asking me, 'Do I like 40-year-old men?' ... and asking me about different sexual situations. I've had them mail me plane tickets. I've had them offer me their condo on the beach if I just come stay for the week. Anything, anything that a child will want.In the Quinn case, the tip that launched the investigation came from one of the alleged hookers. But more and more often, citizen vigilantes like Donna and agencies that focus on sexual abuse of children are playing a key role in bringing prostitution cases to the attention of authorities -- and in particular, those that involve minors.
"If you're a troubled teenager, it's an absolutely easy way to make quick money. ... You can almost have an auction. You can sit there and say, 'Well, this guy just offered me 50 bucks.' 'Well then, I'll offer you $100.' And she can barter herself and set the time and place. How easy is that?"
"We do see ... (situations where) children are actually enticed by individuals on the Internet to come meet them," he said. "Then they realize ... that the individual falsely represented themselves, they're stuck somewhere ... They have to find food and shelter and the only basic commodity they have to sell is themselves."Staff members at the center process the leads received on the tip line, then forward the information to the relevant law enforcement agency, Rodriguez said.
The question of law enforcement priorities is often central to debate over prosecution of prostitution, and the issue already has surfaced in connection with the case of "Nancy of Nebraska," an Omaha woman arrested in January for running an "escort service" in cyberspace.
According to testimony at the trial of Nancy P., 46, a vice squad officer posing as a visiting businessman arranged a date with her, had a limo to pick her up and drive her to the airport, where he emerged from a waiting Lear jet. Then, after serving her several glasses of Asti Spumante during the ride back to his hotel, he took her to his room and offered her cash in exchange for sex.
No sooner did Nancy agree, according to the testimony, than six police officers burst into the room with guns drawn and placed her under arrest.
Though it turned out the limo and jet were donated for use in the sting, a taxpayers group has accused the Omaha vice squad of going to excessive lengths to dismantle Prout's one-woman operation.
"The Nebraska Taxpayers Association does not condone what Nancy P. did or is doing with her Web site," said the organization's president, John Folsom. "Our position is that the police department ... were not good stewards with the taxpayers' dollars in spending the resources that were spent to have her arrested on a misdemeanor charge."Nancy P. was sentenced to only four months probation, an $800 fine and 48 hours of community service. (also most johns or hobbyists - are charged with solicitation, which is a class B misdemeanor and can be dealt with by paying a fine or lawyering your way out of it. And if you are the client of high-end hookers? The chances you will even have to go to 'john school' or do any community service? Nil. Therefore the demand-side goes on unscathed.)
Not surprisingly, such tactics also are viewed as excessive by prostitutes, who say the Internet gives them the ability to take control of their financial situation and eliminate the middle man.
"I was without a job, then worked briefly for $5 an hour while I was going to graduate school and working on my master's," Rachel, who set up her own Web site to advertise her escort service in the Midwest, told MSNBC. "I just wasn't making ends meet so I thought 'I'll try this.' "After initially placing an advertisement on a Web site that hosts numerous escort ads, she learned HTML and designed and built her own home page, which drew an average of 10 to 20 inquiries a day from potential customers.
"I learned a lot about working for myself, marketing, sales," said Rachel, who spoke on condition she not be identified by her real name.
But others say that few prostitutes are in a position to take advantage of the technology.
"There are so few ... women who are in control of what's happening to them," said Donna M. Hughes, director of women's studies at the University of Rhode Island. "And I think the idea that there are lots of high-class call girls out there that are total in control of their own lives is either a myth or only represents a very tiny minority of the women. The vast majority of women that we're talking about around the world are much closer to conditions of slavery."
Hughes, who has studied the Internet's role in furthering prostitution as education and research coordinator for The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, a consulting agency to the United Nations, said that traffickers in sex have been quick to utilize the benefits of the Net.
She said that in addition to prostitutes and pimps, the sex tourism industry, which organizes trips centered around visits to brothels in countries like the Philippines and Thailand, and some so-called mail-order bride operations are using the Web and news groups to attract. In many cases, she said, their advertising is "encoded" in order to avoid scrutiny from authorities, but it's clear what product they are offering.
She said attempts to persuade U.S. authorities to prosecute two companies offering such tours have so far been unsuccessful.
One of the most degrading uses of the Net, Hughes said, are websites in which customers rate prostitutes' performance "as if they are completely a commodity." ("J"/GRIDNEY/ Yidwithlid did this, remember? Showing his blatant misogyny and using women like blow-up dolls. Then he'd be Mr. Religious - Family Man - Political Pundit and smear anyone who spoke up about him. Many times of the online predator is a sex addict - there is more than just an online affair going on!)
Hughes said that the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has recommended that all forms of sexual exploitation -- including pornography -- be considered human rights violations and that action be taken to halt them, "just as we are now taking actions to try to stop the battering of women and sexual abuse or sexual assault of women."
"The view that we take is not to just see this as some sort of speech or expression, but to go what is happening to the women," she said. "No one talks about prostitution as being a form of free speech. It's an actual act that happens. And whether a man is paying a woman in a room or whether he's paying over the Internet, nonetheless he is buying some sort of an act. Therefore we don't see that as being in the realm of free speech."
A Constitutional conflict
But Shari Steele, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said such an approach would not pass muster in the United States.
"At least in the United States, there are numerous laws at both the federal and state level to deal with pornography," she said. "Obscenity is really the purview of the states to make a determination whether it is permitted or not. Indecency is federal protected under the U.S. Constitution. Child pornography is absolutely illegal. So any call for there being extra restrictions are really going to run afoul of the First Amendment here in the United States."The biggest obstacles to prosecution of international prostitution rings are the patchwork of laws and customs governing sale of sexual services and the Internet, said Hampton of the Web Police.
"Many law enforcement agencies don't even know how to address crime on the Internet, let alone prove whether a child is above or below the age of consent in the country where they live," he said.With concerted international action unlikely in the foreseeable future, prosecution of Internet-based prostitution rings and individual escorts, massage practitioners and other euphemistically named sex practitioners appears likely to increase in fits and starts as local police agencies become more aware of what is being sent out to the world from their own back yard.
"In almost every case ... when it's time for the meeting, they get nervous and they'll say, 'I hope to God you're not a cop, but I can’t not meet you.'(Sex compulsives don't care - Cyberpaths into sexual luring will tell women anything (click here for that) - and if they also spend money on hookers - they will convince their partners, families, jobs, police - it was all a lie or 'just a jealous, scorned woman and go RIGHT BACK and do it again.... just be a lot more sneaky about it!)
We will post more about this issue of sex & the internet -- fueled by phenomena like the 'online disinhibition effect' in coming months. This will be yet another window in the addictive and empathy-less minds of Cyberpaths. And we will continue to talk about some of our past predators and their insidious patterns of use, abuse, conning and running away - Fighter)
THE INTERNET ESCORT'S HANDBOOK
PROSTITUTION ON CRAIGSLIST
The Web Opens a Whole New World to the Sex-Addicted and Rationalizing It