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All of the prostitutes interviewed by EastIdahoNews. Nevertheless, Melissa had a wide range of clientele — single and married business owners, doctors, politicians, teachers, law enforcement, and even religious leaders. All of them were willing to disrobe in front of a stranger, in an unfamiliar place, to satisfy their emotional or physical need for sex. Instead, the men would negotiate a sex act, place money on the table, have their fun and leave — hopefully before church ended.

The brief, often minute to 1-hour trysts, are risky for the client. Not only is patronizing a prostitute a misdemeanor crime, but the men risk destroying their families, reputations and careers. And yet, according to Melissa and several other prostitutes interviewed by EastIdahoNews. John is another term used to refer to the clientele of sex workers. That is the root of the problem, Melissa said. The demand for sex — both from those who sell themselves freely, and from those who are trafficked — is high, largely because the consequences of buying a person for sex are relatively low.

Things are changing in Idaho though, as efforts are underway in the Legislature to discourage people from seeking out paid sexual experiences. She was in her mids at the time, living a typical upper middle-income life. She had a successful husband and several adult and teenage children who were active in school and sports. She owned a home, had a respected career and had earned several graduate degrees. And yet for 18 months, Melissa traded her professional attire for lingerie and secretly posed provocatively for online ads so men would pay to have sex with her.

Melissa had a friend, a middle-aged male business owner, who showed her personal ads he used on Craigslist and Backpage. He suggested that money could be made by selling herself online. Melissa hesitantly agreed and the business owner, who EastIdahoNews.

During that first encounter, there was physical contact between her and the man, but no sex was involved. The ability to pay bills was enough to entice Melissa to continue the relationship with the business owner. Melissa took semi-nude photos of herself and gave them to her now-pimp. He bought classified ads on Backpage for Melissa, advertising her as an escort.

He set up the encounters, bought the hotel rooms, and even took her to appointments. They split the commission. All of the former and current escorts who were interviewed by EastIdahoNews. Melissa engaged in more than encounters during her 18 months as a escort, with most of the encounters arranged through Backpage. Authorities monitor Backpage and similar sites regularly to catch prostitution, but Melissa was never arrested, charged or even challenged by authorities.

To her knowledge, neither were any of her clients. It also stems from the client. Most of the prostitutes interviewed by EastIdahoNews. The dictionary definition of escorting is a man or a woman that is hired to go with someone to a social event. There is no direct data on how prevalent prostitution is in east Idaho. Of the escorts interviewed by EastIdahoNews. There is consistently between 10 to 15 personal ads for escorts on the major classified and adult escort websites every day.

The ads never stay up long. Some of these ads are spam; others are police decoy accounts set up to catch potential johns. But most of the ads are from traveling escorts or those who are being trafficked.

These men and women often travel in groups around neighboring states, staying for a weekend, advertising themselves and then quickly leaving the area. In Idaho Falls, a single prostitute was arrested in , and , respectively — two were roving escorts from Oregon and one was local. The last time a client was arrested for solicitation was in , when four people were taken into custody.

In Rexburg no one has been arrested for prostitution since before , but one person was arrested for solicitation in The same is true in Pocatello, although two prostitution arrests were made in Chubbuck. Bryan Lovell said the internet has made arresting escorts and clients much more difficult. Idaho code stipulates an escort and a client must agree to a fee in exchange for a sex act to be found guilty of a crime.

Jasmyn is a veteran sex worker who hails from Pocatello. The woman, who is in her mids, has been escorting full time or part time on her own for nearly a decade.

Unlike Melissa, Jasmyn is a roving worker and is still very much involved in the sex trade. She moved to Utah several years ago after her children grew up and left home. Now she visits Pocatello at least once a month to service longtime clientele. The veteran sex worker says after a decade of work, she rarely takes a new client, which greatly reduces her risk of being caught or turned in.

Another tactic used by local sex workers is redefining the traditional role of a escort to avoid arrest. Kat, an Idaho Falls woman in her 30s, uses Backpage to arrange sexual encounters with individuals or couples.

She describes herself as a dominatrix and a sugar baby. A sugar baby is typically a person in some sort of romantic relationship who receives cash, gifts or other benefits in exchange for being in that relationship. Graham says to prosecute, there needs to be proof of an agreement to engage in sexual conduct for money, either from a witness who observed or participated, or from a video or photo of the interaction.

Alternatively, a case can sometimes be prosecuted with circumstantial evidence such a financial ledger or client list. Local sex workers are careful to protect their clients and hide any evidence. She was her own boss, with flexible hours, time for herself, and with a few exceptions, she always felt safe. She also felt like she was performing a valuable service for her clients, who, for whatever reason, needed her. I just waited until he was done and ready to say what was going on.

He'd been working himself to death and denying his physical needs to avoid the pain of his wife's passing. I helped him get past what he was afraid to face by himself. Not all of L's clients are grieving widowers, but, despite stereotypes of men who pay for sex as brutal, aggressive, women-haters, they aren't all bad guys, either.

The law, however, as well as cultural stigma, prevents sex-buyers from coming out. L would like to continue this work, but last week, Backpage, her one source of clients, disappeared.

When L went to Backpage last Friday, she was greeted by an unfamiliar image. Where classifieds used to be, there was a notice saying that Backpage had been seized by the FBI. Earlier that day, she would soon find out, the Feds had raided the homes of Backpage co-founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.

According to documents unsealed on Monday, the two, along with five other Backpage employees, have been indicted on 93 charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and facilitate prostitution. Backpage says that the company blocks ads that involve minors and reports them to law enforcement, but the site has long been accused of enabling both prostitution and human trafficking. Human trafficking, however, exists in far more industries than just sex: The International Labour Organization estimated that, as of , there were 4.

Sex is just a part of the human trafficking problem, but it's the only part we hear about. There is good reason for this: There has been a sustained effort on the part of anti-sex work campaigners to conflate human trafficking with sex work, despite the fact that not all sex workers are victims, and many sex workers are just like L, who chose to work in this trade.

In fact, some sex workers say the ability to post their own ads on sites like Backpage actually helped them get out of trafficking. I didn't have to justify it to anyone. For the very first time, the oldest profession has transparency, record keeping, and safeguards. Backpage did make their jobs safer. Online classified services give sex workers an opportunity to vet their clients first—and they allowed sex workers to trade information with each other about who to trust and who to avoid.

People doing sex work because they need the money are no less desperate without Backpage. The data backs this up. As Angelina Chapin wrote in the Huffington Post , "A paper by Baylor University economics professor Scott Cunningham and colleagues found that after Craigslist created an 'erotic services' section, the rate of female homicides in U.

The researchers concluded that sex workers who advertised online spent less time on the streets, where they were more likely to face dangerous situations. Craigslist shuttered its "erotic services" section in in response to legal pressure but, as L told me, "Removing access to [sex workers] is about as effective as preaching abstinence. Her data, however, which was widely picked up by the media, turned out to be false.

After a series of court cases and the arrest of the company's CEO last year, Backpage removed the adult services section of their website, which also included legal job listings as well as a large for-sale section, with everything from cars to clothes. It was super crowded.

.. Random sex find sex New South Wales 6 Apr Law enforcement authorities raid founder's home, release few details after post on sites known for adult escort services. PHOENIX — Sex ads. 22 Mar “You can't just point fingers at the escorts,” Melissa said. “The two main resources are Backpage and Craigslist,” Melissa said. “People that are seeking this type of recreation know exactly where to look, the wording is very. 22 Nov Technology has made it easy to find casual sex encounters. There's an almost unlimited number of websites and apps that claim to help you.

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Local sex workers are careful to protect their clients and hide any evidence. She also extensively screens and is selective about new clients in order to avoid any legal entanglements.

There is no set demographic for people seeking sex for money. Thousands of men and a smaller number of women of all ages are caught annually across the country engaging in paid sex with escorts, according to a U. Department of Justice study. But older, straight men still appear to be the predominant customers nationwide. That holds true in east Idaho, where escorts tell EastIdahoNews. The vast majority of clients are married. Jasymn, Melissa and Kat all agree there is a tremendous amount of emotion attached to the decision to buy sex.

Kat believes most men do it out of a desire to feel some excitement and enjoy variety. There is something emotional going on for you to reach out to a prostitute in that setting and pay for it.

In addition, a subsection of clientele uses adult or child prostitutes to physically or sexually abuse them. Local escorts say this happens more commonly to trafficked prostitutes.

The DOJ study specifically mentions all these examples as reasons men hire prostitutes. They also added fear of conventional relationships, perceived ugliness and a desire to engage in illicit sexual behavior as additional motivation. Whatever the reason, the escorts try to establish a superficial friendship with the client to meet their needs. You realize these are just ordinary people where something is disengaged in their life.

The prevalence of prostitution in Idaho is a concern for many local and state officials, particularly because of the growth of human and child sex trafficking across the Gem State. At a local level, law enforcement is actively engaged in training to better understand prostitution and the problems that appear alongside it. Some of these women may be being held against their will, and other crimes may be occurring alongside prostitution.

On the state level, Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Brent Crane R-Nampa is hoping new laws will help fight prostitution and specifically deter human trafficking and sex slavery. He has proposed legislation that would make it a felony crime for an individual to patronize a prostitute even once. Currently, patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor in Idaho that becomes a felony only after the third charge.

Crane has been working with non-profit group INsideOUT in Eagle and with former trafficked prostitutes to craft anti-prostitution legislation. You have to go after the guys who are purchasing this. We need to send a clear message that the boys and girls of Idaho are not for sale. Several young women testified johns are equally as dangerous as traffickers and frequently abuse and rape their victims.

One woman described that as a child she was choked, tied up, cut with knives and then penetrated with sharp objects by an abusive john. He just wanted the sex. They severely abused and raped me. It was horrible for me. During the hearing, several representatives brought up concerns that the law could unfairly penalize prostitution cases where both the escort and the client are consenting adults.

He emphasized that no girl leaves high school dreaming about a career in prostitution. They are either addicted to a drug, they owe money or the pimp has some sort of power over them. During interviews with EastIdahoNews. Looking back at a decade in the industry, Jasmyn admits sex work was never something she would have chosen under optimal conditions, nor would she recommend it to others.

But she is proud of what she has accomplished because of it. Jasmyn put all three of her daughters through school, was able to keep her home and even rent an apartment on the side for the escorting — all on prostitution pay. In her mind, escorting, despite its illegality, is a job like any other.

It was the means to give her daughters a normal life. She became an independent contractor with very strict rules about accepting and retaining new clients, ensuring personal and client hygiene in her encounters and creating a list of sex acts she simply would not perform.

As a result, Jasmyn said she will have saved enough to retire from the industry in a couple years, and without ever contracting a sexually transmitted disease or seeing much abuse from clients. Her biggest concern is for young women entering the field out of desperation, and the need for money.

Often she said, desperation leads young girls into situations were they can be trafficked, or entrapped by pimps or abused by their own clients. Jasmyn would like to see classes for young prostitutes to teach them about cleanliness, personal safety, and how to not be taken advantage of. At least if it were legal for consenting adults there would be clean, regulated places for sex without the risk of abusive clients or sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

She also believes it would help police better focus on stopping human trafficking. At the moment, there are no official discussions in Idaho about legalizing prostitution. Across the nation, Nevada is the only state to allow some legal prostitution, and only in approved brothels in rural areas.

Melissa says her journey into prostitution destroyed her life, although in the end, things did get better for her. Those 18 months cost Melissa her job, her standing in the community and caused immense pain for her children and extended family. She went to the police with information about her pimp and his prostitution ring, and she testified against him in court. Friends, clergy, people that can help you with bills.

A look at the sex trade in east Idaho from women who work it. She sat down with EastIdahoNews. Watch an edited version of the interview above. Backpage says that the company blocks ads that involve minors and reports them to law enforcement, but the site has long been accused of enabling both prostitution and human trafficking.

Human trafficking, however, exists in far more industries than just sex: The International Labour Organization estimated that, as of , there were 4. Sex is just a part of the human trafficking problem, but it's the only part we hear about. There is good reason for this: There has been a sustained effort on the part of anti-sex work campaigners to conflate human trafficking with sex work, despite the fact that not all sex workers are victims, and many sex workers are just like L, who chose to work in this trade.

In fact, some sex workers say the ability to post their own ads on sites like Backpage actually helped them get out of trafficking. I didn't have to justify it to anyone.

For the very first time, the oldest profession has transparency, record keeping, and safeguards. Backpage did make their jobs safer. Online classified services give sex workers an opportunity to vet their clients first—and they allowed sex workers to trade information with each other about who to trust and who to avoid.

People doing sex work because they need the money are no less desperate without Backpage. The data backs this up. As Angelina Chapin wrote in the Huffington Post , "A paper by Baylor University economics professor Scott Cunningham and colleagues found that after Craigslist created an 'erotic services' section, the rate of female homicides in U. The researchers concluded that sex workers who advertised online spent less time on the streets, where they were more likely to face dangerous situations.

Craigslist shuttered its "erotic services" section in in response to legal pressure but, as L told me, "Removing access to [sex workers] is about as effective as preaching abstinence. Her data, however, which was widely picked up by the media, turned out to be false. After a series of court cases and the arrest of the company's CEO last year, Backpage removed the adult services section of their website, which also included legal job listings as well as a large for-sale section, with everything from cars to clothes.

It was super crowded. That worked for a while. Despite this, the anti-trafficking bills passed in a rare bipartisan effort. Only two senators, the progressive Sen. And then, three weeks after the vote, Backpage was seized, indictments were filed, and L found herself out of work.

There are other websites where L could advertise her services, but Backpage was the biggest, the best, and it's where her clients knew to find her. She could turn to the dark web or to international websites, but, with no reason or incentive to work with U. You might also be interested in these: Anyone Need a Big Box of Condoms? I was ghosted by ghosts. Newsletters Sign up for the latest news and to win free tickets to events.

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