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

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

UK: Press Release from Punternet

Press Release – 2nd October
——————————————————————————–

I have had a large number of queries from various news agencies over the past day, too many to write each one a personal reply, so I am posting this instead.

Regarding claims that PunterNet “degrades” and “exploits” women:

Most definitely not! As it says on the home page, “This web site aims to promote better understanding between customers and ladies in hopes that everyone may benefit, with less stressful, more enjoyable and mutually respectful visits.” Anyone actually reading the site can see that the atmosphere here is one of camaraderie, not degradation!

Participation on this site is 100% voluntary. If a particular lady or agency chooses not to have reviews published here, their wishes are respected – unlike on many restaurant review sites.

Regarding claims that sites like this promote trafficking and sex slavery:

Again, exactly the opposite is true! The sort of low-lifes who engage in such despicable activities would not dare subject themselves to the scrutiny of being discussed in an open forum such as this one. The people who use this site (and the many others like it) are decent folk and would not hesitate to make that call to Crimestoppers if they suspected Continue reading

Would closing down sites like Punter Net really make the sex industry safer?

Posted by Jerome Taylor
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 03:24 pm

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman called on California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today to close down a website where people who visit prostitutes in the UK can rate their experiences.

Other than the slightly crass nature of the headline grabbing soundbytes that she used (“Surely it can’t be too difficult for The Terminator to terminate PunterNet” was just one), there’s something else that bothers me about her demands.

At first glance her call for Arnie to shut down PunterNet (which I understand is hosted in the US but written by UK punters) appears a worthy cause. Continue reading

An open letter to Harriet Harman (Punternet’s response)

Dear Mrs. Harman,

I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.

Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.

In the USA, there is a concept called “freedom of speech” which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet. Continue reading