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Florida woman implicated in Internet prostitution ring

A Florida woman was recently arrested for her alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. The woman and her partner allegedly ran a prostitution ring that operated out of several apartments.

The woman came under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement based on suspicious comments made on an Internet forum site. Notably, it appears that the woman made little effort to hide her activity: The comments were posted under an online category labeled escorts.

According to authorities, the Internet has transformed, and perhaps facilitated, sex trafficking and prostitution. Under Florida law, a charge of soliciting prostitution typically requires proof of specific intent, usually evidenced by the exchange of money or acts in furtherance of prostitution, such as making plans to meet in person, driving to a location, and other details.

Yet Internet sex crimes are often fast, simple and discreet transactions, with no extraneous witnesses -- unless an undercover agent is posing as a sex worker. Without witnesses, it may be less likely to get caught, resulting in an explosion of online prostitution crimes.

In addition, many enforcement departments have allocated more of their resources related to computer crimes for sex crimes involving children, leaving little time and money left over to fight online solicitation. Perhaps the numbers say it all: On a single day a few years ago, The New York Times reported that nearly 9,000 listings were added to an online site's Erotic Services category -- in the New York region alone.

With a new criminal forum may come new legislation. In fact, the laws against Internet sex crimes are constantly growing and changing. Those changes, in turn, may create different burdens of proof and require different showing for defenses like entrapment. For that reason, anyone charged with an Internet sex crime should consult with an experienced sex crimes lawyer who is up to date on the latest developments.

Source: 12newsnow.com, "Boca Raton policeman's wife charged in prostitution accused of being a pimp," Jan. 25, 2013

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