Where did Craigslist personals and casual encounters go?
In response to the latest action in Congress, Craigslist has finally taken down the personals section including Casual Encounters. Had this been done years ago, it would have saved many men from becoming registered sex offender. For a decade, the police undercover chatters have been posting misleading ads in Craigslist personals. The police would post in the women for men section and in the men for men section first pretending to be over 18. When men would respond, the undercover chatters would change the age, then pretending to be young girls 13, 14 and 15. Thousands of men have been arrested and had their lives destroyed by these entrapment schemes. You may know someone who got arrested and faced a similar situation. Had this been done ten years ago, many men would never have been convicted and would never have become registered sex offenders.
The new law makes the providers liable criminally and any of them with any sense will now back off and shut down the personals. This is a death knell for the providers that provide services to the prostitutes. What the legislators really need to do is legalizeprostitution. The true way to stop human traffickingis to legalize it and control it. Who would take their chances with a drug infected street hooker, if they could lawfully go to a regulated an approved licensed house of prostitution? As a sex crime lawyer, I have handled approximately four dozen InternetSex Sting cases and almost everyone one of them began on Craigslist, Backpage or Meetme.com
This is going to take a bite out of the police ICAC chatters prosecution rate. Where do the police now go? The police will now target the telephone applications and other dating applications. Law enforcement has already started running child pornography stings. Is the FBI-ICAC task force putting out links to child porn and then arresting people who respond out of curiosity? We are coming into an entire new era for the police. Their tool is being taken away. Casual Encounters is done! The government can totally shut down child pornography. All they have to do is pass a law requiring Internet servers and providers to block the known videos and images when they are transmitted. Times are changing for everyone.
If the pattern holds true, and I bet it will, there will be more sex stings here in Central Florida around Valentine day. Grady Judd will probably target the prostitution sites like Backpage.com and Craigslist Casual Encounters with detectives posing first as adult prostitutes. Lately, the police first pose as adults and them try and convince the customer to hook up with an underage prostitute or escort. The charges range from human trafficking to traveling to meet a minor. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession and in many countries is legal. In Florida however, prostitution, even with an adult, is a crime. The police try and elevate it to a felony by offering underage hookers and prostitutes to unsuspecting men.
Responding to an escort ad on the Internet is a dangerous proposition. In Manatee, some time ago, the police ran ads pretending to be Korean massage therapists. In one case, after the man agreed to come, the pimp, switched the age saying, “you will love her, she is only 15”. The agreement to come occurred before age was mentioned. The ad was in an adult site. That case is currently on appeal. It will be interesting to see how the higher court rules on this one.
If you respond to an escort ad, never under any circumstances agree to meet with a child, even to talk. Nothing good comes of chatting or texting with a child. The police are also targeting the gay sites with similar tactics. The police are also using the standard ploy where they pretend to be a single dad, a single mother or an older sister who wants to “teach” the daughter or “sister” about sex. Never respond to this type of trickery. In Texas, just days, ago 46 people were arrested in Mclennan County in a major prostitution sting. My prediction is that the stings coming soon will use prostitution as the bait. Men, lonely on Valentine day are an easy target. Snowbirds here in Florida, unaware of what the police down here do are easy targets for these types of bait and switch operations.
Plenty O Fish is another favorite site for sex stings. The police put up an adult profile usually over legal age (18 or 19) trying to get a response. When a man responds to the profile they will say something like “I hope my age isn’t a problem, I am only 14”. They will follow it up with something like “I am very mature for my age” and “I don’t like guys my age”. If anyone in any of the adult sites says they are underage, terminate all contact and flag the ad. No one wants kids on the Internet and everyone should do their part to keep them off. If you see an underage girl on the Internet report her. Her parents need to know. The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. Never chat or text, even innocently, with a minor. Do your part to keep kids off the Internet. Just this week two college kids were arrested for murder in a case involving a 14 year old on social media, using a KIK application. There are several golden rules for Internet dating. You have to absolutely confirm the person you are talking to is of legal age. Demand proof. You have to confirm gender. The biggest lie is about gender. Meet for the first time in a very public place.In the sex stings, the police will try and get a person to come to a 7-11 mini mart. Many men go simply out of curiosity to find out if the person is even real. As a Sex Sting Attorney and an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer handling sex crimes…Do not go. If a friend or loved one got arrested or feel that they are under investigation call an attorney