Two stories recently in the news should serve as a sober reminder that you really need to be careful with Backpage, a website known for escort and massage parlor ads. The first story comes out of Long Island, in New York, where 104 men accused of seeking out prostitutes have been swept up in a Backpage-based sting dubbed “Operation Flush The Johns.”
Nassau police and prosecutors announced Monday the arrests of more than 100 men — including lawyers, doctors and college professors — on charges that in recent years have gone largely unprosecuted in the county: soliciting prostitutes.
A monthlong sting, called “Operation Flush the Johns,” began in April and resulted in the arrests of 104 men across the county, District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said at a Monday news conference.
Each of the men arrested answered an online advertisement for an escort, then went to a hotel, where they met an undercover officer posing as a prostitute, officials said. The men were videotaped as they agreed to pay for sex and were promptly arrested, Rice said.
The sting ran from April 18 to May 24 and included the arrests of several lawyers, two doctors, two dentists, two engineers, two college professors, two college students, a teacher, a stockbroker and a car salesman, prosecutors said.
Their ages ranged from 17 to 79; the average age of the men arrested is 40.
He said the operation began after several complaints about crime around the hotels in the county. Officials later declined to identify the hotels.
Each of the suspected johns has been arraigned, has pleaded not guilty and faces a maximum of 1 year in jail if convicted of patronizing a prostitute in the third degree, a misdemeanor.
The 104 men, all innocent until proven guilty, have had their names and photos publicized widely in the local media and on the internet.
…one Nassau County criminal defense lawyer who is representing men arrested in the sting is crying foul.
Elliot S. Schlissel told MailOnline that Rice’ decided to publicly shame the men who are still legally innocent.
‘These people could lose their jobs or marriages or have other problems and never be convicted of anything,’ he said.
Never mind that prostitution should be legal. That’s a fight that will go on. What this points to is increasing law enforcement focus on the customers, rather than the service providers, and the increasing use of popular websites like Craigslist (the adult gigs section is gone, but ads tend to pop up elsewhere) and Backpage.
I‘ve explained here on the site and in my much more extensive book, How To Pay To Get Laid, that simply picking a random listing from a site like these that anyone can post on carries a lot of danger. Those who want to find sexual services in puritan land would be much better off sticking to peer reviewed service providers. While sites like Erotic Massage Parlor Reviews and Naughty Reviews provide that, even the posts you’ll find on them can’t be trusted one hundred percent. That goes without saying. People can make up reviews for whatever reason. One still has to use their brain. But a provider or shop with a good amount of reviews from veteran members of sites that require a few dollars for membership offer a lot more in the way of security than a random listing. If you see a person or place you like, spend a little time doing research. Google search the name, phone number and / or email address. Look for reviews and testimonials. See how long they’ve been around. It’s worth a few minutes of your time. Better still, save up some money and travel to a more civilized place where sex services are legal or at least tolerated and widely available. I know that’s not always possible or desirable, which is why guys continue to search out stuff closer to home. But if they’re going to put their lives on the line, they should at least try to be careful.
In the opening I said there were two stories involving Backpage. The second is even worse than the first.
A suburban Minneapolis high school cheerleader is accused of prostituting a younger student by creating an online ad and taking her to see potential customers, pocketing $60 in one case.
…she allegedly set up a Backpage.com ad for a 16-year-old, driving her to an apartment to have oral sex with a man and taking the $60 the girl made.
That’s a lot trouble for everyone involved that no sane person would want anything to do with. Be careful with Backpage, and everything else.