Pressure on web ‘brothels’

By | May 7, 2009

Tough-talking attorneys general are pushing for policing and even the complete shutdown of online “brothels” hosted by Craigslist and the Boston Phoenix on thinly veiled sex-for-hire sites in the wake of the murder of an erotic masseuse in Boston.

“We have the horrific evidence that bad people use these services. We have to do more together,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

The online sites contain graphic, descriptive ads for sexually oriented services. One from “Chelsea” on the Phoenix Web site offers “sensual body rubs” and fetish services at $225 an hour. On Craigslist Boston, “Bella” offers sessions with a “mind-blowing ending.”

The Phoenix has for years offered the adult services ads in its free weekly print editions as well.

But law enforcement has tread lightly on such ad services until now, citing First Amendment issues as well as difficulty in applying criminal statutes to them.

“I don’t believe we have the authority to shut them down. We recognize it’s a problem . . . and the solution has to be at the federal level,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. “Craigslist, like the Phoenix, advertises what is illegal activity. . . . It’s almost impossible to police.”

But after the murder of Julissa Brisman, 26, in a Boston hotel by accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff, 23, last month, attorneys general are pushing for change.

Top prosecutors in Connecticut and South Carolina announced yesterday they’re ready to drag down online sites that give sleazy sex services an advertising platform – and put escorts, masseuses and other workers in danger.

“The time for talking is over. Prosecution is the only thing some people understand,” South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told the Herald.

via Pressure on web ‘brothels’ – BostonHerald.com.

Absurd. What next? Will McMaster ban bathrooms because hookers advertise on the walls?

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