But alluding to experiences, Jennifer says she exercised standards when soliciting clientele. Indeed, Craigslist — used by millions nationwide to buy and sell everything from home appliances to automobiles — is also a high-tech marketplace for those looking to buy and sell sex. The people on Craigslist tend to be women on the lower end of the spectrum.
The year-old was taken into custody earlier this month after the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children alerted the Martinez Police Department. Investigators have said it might not be the first time the woman — who is also the mother of a 3-week-old baby — has offered to sell her daughter for sex.
The case was returned to the Martinez Police Department, which is hoping to refile the case. While such an example is extreme, it has focused more attention on the issue of online prostitution.
From women looking for men, men looking for women, and gay and lesbiansome online postings leave little to the imagination. And for those who think customers have to venture into San Francisco or Oakland to buy sex, think again.
Vice-crime investigators say the Internet has allowed prostitutes to reach out to a larger prospective client base. Jennifer said it also has allowed law enforcement to zero in on practitioners of the trade.
On the day before Thanksgiving, a quick search on Craigslist revealed 50 listings for the Pleasanton-Dublin-Livermore area. Without going into specifics, Saulsbury said the department soon will be launching a sting operation against women advertising erotic services online.
Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, said recent publicity generated by prostitution listings on his site actually is a good thing. Newmark, 52, of San Francisco, said he started Craigslist a decade ago. Users are more concerned with scams — but if they see something wrong, they will flag it.
Craigslist prides itself on working with law enforcement when approached to assist with investigations, Newmark said. San Ramon police Chief Scott Holder said his department checks Craigslist — and other sites — on a weekly basis. In three months, the department has conducted three sting operations as a result of online postings.
In Danville, prostitution is less of a problem. Generally, word of women selling sexual favors reaches the department through the grapevine, Wenzel said, noting police raided a Danville establishment engaging in risky business six months ago. Whether the operations are the result of information derived from Craigslist or other Web sites, Krull would not say.
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