Web site posts reviews of prostitutes from customers
Law enforcement says such sites are fronts for human and sex trafficking
A Web site based in North Texas lets users log on and actually rate their prostitutes. The Escort Client Community Information Exchange lists the names of the prostitute, her contact information and the services that were rendered during an "appointment." The existence of such Web site, while remaining quasi-legal, has many in law enforcement concerned. Such Web sites usually exist as a front for human trafficking and human slavery, they warn.
A Houston, Texas-based TV news program has confirmed with the Texas Attorney General's office that the Web site is a factor in a few of their investigations. The idea that you can review and rate prostitutes has a lot of people concerned.
Women create profiles on the site and customers can post reviews about their services.
"I'm not amazed because I've seen worse ads and Web sites than this," Jenny Ford, Human Trafficking Expert with ACH Child and Family Services says.
Helping women and children who've been sexually victimized, Ford says people posting on sites like this often use kinky sex and prostitution as a cover up for sex trafficking.
"It's happening everywhere. I mean, you can call and get somebody delivered to your house, to your apartment, or to a hotel," Ford says.
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has Homeland Security Investigators that scour sites like this for potential trafficking cases. Shutting down the site completely is virtually impossible.
"A lot of these internet Web sites are reflective of pure prostitution," David Marwell, ICE Special Agent In Charge says. "Some of these Web sites have actual legitimate ways of means and services that they produce. So having these Web sites, looking into this aspect of the Web sites, doesn't necessarily make the entire Web site seizable or being able to close it down."
State Senator Leticia Van De Putte has long pushed for stricter trafficking laws in Texas. She believes sites like this can lead to human or sex trafficking.
"We know the internet is a problem," Van De Putte said, adding that she filed SB-94, a bill that goes after the people using them. "But what's happened with these internet sites is that they've become advertising, money making ventures. This is not your prostitute standing on your street corner. This is online solicitation."
Van De Putte says if law enforcement can connect individual postings with reports of human trafficking or prostitution complaint, then they'll go after the poster. The overall goal is to decrease the demand for these kinds of sites and, consequently, decrease human and sex trafficking.
Van De Putte's bill has been voted through the senate and will be discussed in the house over the next few weeks.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
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