Concerns for Sex Workers Amid Serial Killer Investigation

Sex workers are being advised to use the buddy system so that someone knows where they are.
Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 | Updated 3:12 PM EDTBy Chris Glorioso

The investigation into a suspected serial killer who may have preyed on prostitutes, dumping their bodies near beaches on Long Island, has spawned new warnings for sex workers who advertise online.

Police have yet to identify all the victims, or even say whether the latest six sets of remains are linked to the first four found last December.

But the first four bodies were identified as young women who all posted sex ads on Craigslist. And that has advocates for sex workers making extra efforts to counsel the women on best practices to avoid violent clients. Continue reading

Craigslist clash over adult ads raises key issues

James Temple, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, August 29, 2010
CEO Jim Buckmaster, above, faces criticism from politicia… CEO Jim Buckmaster faces criticism from politicians such …

Attorneys general in 18 states demanded that Craigslist remove its adult services section last week, the latest clash in a long-running conflict over online sexual ads that is likely to lead to a court battle, congressional debate or both, legal experts say.

“Eventually we’re going to see something,” said Jason Schultz, assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law. “There has been political pressure building to try to pass new laws or to sue Craigslist criminally.” Continue reading

AZ: Man pleads guilty to hiring hit man in prostitution case

20 comments by Michael Ferraresi – Feb. 9, 2010 03:58 PM
The Arizona Republic

The founder of a Web site known for its reviews of prostitutes pleaded guilty to two felonies in a case in which he was accused of hiring an undercover Phoenix police officer to assault a business rival, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

David Elms, 38, the California founder of The Erotic Review, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, a Class 3 felony.

The charge stemmed from the Phoenix police investigation into Desert Divas, a sex syndicate that purportedly provided expensive prostitutes to high-profile clients.

Elms also pleaded guilty to illegal control of an enterprise, a Class 3 felony, a charge the county attorney’s office said was related to Elms allowing The Erotic Review to be used in promoting the Valley-based Desert Divas prostitution ring, officials said.

Desert Divas prostitutes earned as much as $375 per visit, including $750 for two girls, in some cases. The organization earned an estimated $18 million over six years, police said.

Based on an informant’s tip, Phoenix detectives arrested Elms in February in northeast Phoenix after arranging a meeting where they said Elms contracted an undercover officer as a hit man to assault a woman in California.

Elms’ sentencing is scheduled for March 8.

See original on AZ Central

Houston cops crash Christmas party for hookers, johns

by Jeff McShan / 11 News
Posted on December 15, 2009 at 9:58 PM
Updated Tuesday, Dec 15 at 10:39 PM

HOUSTON — Houston police crashed a Christmas party for high-priced call girls and their customers last week at a Midtown club called Element.

Tuesday night, police were back out rounding up the men who allegedly paid for sex at the party.

“This is a party that was organized on a Web site that caters to mainly prostitution,” said Lt. C. Vasquez with HPD’s vice division.

Members of the site called ASPD.net chat about Houston escorts and even write reviews. Warnings are posted about police activity, and which escorts can be trusted.

Members must be invited to join, and then a check is done to verify their employment. Operators wanted to make sure no cops were allowed. Continue reading

A Few Questions for Belle de Jour, Call Girl and Scientist

November 20, 2009, 1:30 pm
By RYAN HAGEN

In 2003, a young American woman in London studying for her PhD. ran into money trouble. To support herself while writing her thesis, she joined an escort service. Under the assumed name Belle de Jour, she started to blog her experiences. That blog led to a series of successful, jaunty memoirs beginning with 2005’s The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl. The books were adapted for television in the U.K. (where she is portrayed by Billie Piper) and later in the U.S. All the while, as Belle de Jour garnered more attention — and criticism, for portraying prostitution as a glamorous career choice — the woman behind Belle de Jour struggled to keep her anonymity. This month, as an ex-boyfriend threatened to blow her cover, Belle approached one of her critics, the London journalist India Knight of the Sunday Times, to reveal her identity. That resulted in an article, published Nov. 15, outing her as Dr. Brooke Magnanti, 34, a neurotoxicologist at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. This week, she agreed to answer a few questions for the Freakonomics blog, about her work as a call girl and as a scientist. Continue reading

Internet fuels virtual subculture for sex trade, study finds

Published: Oct. 21, 2009 E-mail Editor

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Internet has spawned a virtual subculture of “johns” who share information electronically about prostitution, potentially making them harder to catch, according to a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University criminologist.

The research by MSU’s Thomas Holt and Kristie Blevins of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte challenges the common perception that sex customers act alone and do not interact for fear of reprisal or scorn. The study appears in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Continue reading

Chicago: Cook County Sheriff Loses Craigslist “Erotic Services” Ads Case

October 21st, 2009
Legal Analysis by Matt Zimmerman

Yesterday, a federal court tossed a lawsuit against craigslist over erotic advertisements. In March, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart alleged that craigslist was liable for the illegal ads posted by its users in its “erotic services” (now “adult services”) category. As craigslist argued in their motion for judgment on the pleadings, and as EFF and others pointed out at the time, Dart’s complaint had virtually no chance of success because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act plainly immunized Internet intermediaries like craigslist from civil liability for material posted by third parties. Continue reading