Prostitution booking is low on police priority lists, officials say

While the Web site for the Emperor’s Club VIP that ex-New York Gov. Spitzer allegedly used has been taken down, online prostitution is so competitive that many of the services offer online booking directly from the sex worker’s Internet calendar.

Law enforcement officials say they’re concerned, but already so overworked trying to curtail Internet crime like online child predators, identity theft and online fraud that prostitution is seldom investigated unless it involves extraordinary circumstances.

For what the Internet has done to most every other field it has done for the world’s oldest profession, with online call girl (and boy) rings being actively advertised and promoted with barely disguised offers of sexual services under the code words “full service” or “GFE,” meaning “Girl Friend Experience.”

Sometimes, other euphemisms are used.

For example: A woman identified as “Heavenly Hailey” is advertised on a site called Cupid’s Addiction. She describes herself as “upscale courtesan based in the SE Michigan area.” The American Heritage Dictionary makes it clear what a courtesan is: “A woman prostitute, especially one whose clients are members of high social standing.”

“Organized prostitution has taken to the Internet in a major way,” says Special Agent Dawn M. Clenney, a spokeswoman for the Michigan FBI. “It’s a very effective and affordable way for them to reach huge numbers of persons. It’s a big, big problem as is just about every other kind of crime that has taken to the Internet. We’re doing what we can”

Apparently so. On an area of the Detroit Craigslist site that specializes in sexual services, someone has posted a warning that makes it obvious law enforcement knows what’s going on online. It lists a 313 area code phone number with the notice: “Be careful its a sting operation … My boy just got caught.”

That area on the Detroit edition of Craigslist has more than 700 posts offering sexual services. With so much activity, police can barely make a dent in the problem.

“The Internet is a place where you can by and sell just about anything, and prostitution is widespread on it,” says Oakland County (Mich.) Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “It’s not high on our list of priorities because there is so much of it and we are concentrating on the ongoing and serious problem of child predators but when we do find it or get a complaint, we do take action.”