If nothing else, the Eliot Spitzer scandal proves you really can get anything you want online. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Oprah Book Club pick or a $1,000-an-hour booty call.
The world’s oldest profession has gone high-tech. Spitzer, the former New York governor, picked his 22-year-old escort through the website of a suspected prostitution ring called Emperor’s Club VIP. According to Alicia Smiley, a Louisville Metro Police Department spokesperson, the popularity of social networks and free online personal ads has also made it easier for people in Kentuckiana to find love for sale.
“We do have people using the Internet for prostitution,” Smiley said. “I don’t think we have anyone that would qualify for $1,000 an hour.”
A Louisville Metro Police Department vice squad recently arrested 27 men in a prostitution sting. The department placed an ad on Craigslist and arrested the men when they showed up at a specified location and negotiated for sex. But Smiley said Louisville police rarely see the kind of high-class prostitution seen in the Spitzer case.
“The guys tell me that there are women like that here for Derby or in the summer,” Smiley said. “They fly in and fly out. They usually work a regular circuit through Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. That way they don’t become familiar to law enforcement in a particular area. … We constantly have to change our methods because (sex workers) are always trying to change their methods to avoid detection.”
The website www.bigdoggie.net provides links to escorts all over the country, including about 30 from Kentucky. The majority of the Kentucky escorts were located in the Louisville Metro area, and the services they advertise run the gamut from companionship at a dinner date to specialized sexual positions. The rates range from $300 an hour to $1,800 for all night.
LEO sent e-mails to all of the women listed on the site as Louisville area escorts; one woman agreed to answer questions. All of the questions were sent to her electronically, and the newspaper agreed not to print her actual name or her screen name on www.bigdoggie.net. She signed her e-mails S.C.
While S.C. recognizes that what she does is prostitution, she wrote that there are different classes of the profession. On her website, she refers to herself as a straight 40-year-old who escorts customers in Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The services she provides include French-kissing, the “Girlfriend Experience,” Incall (meeting at her place) and Outcall (meeting at the client’s place). For an Incall, S.C. makes from $225 an hour to $600 for three hours. Interestingly, her rate list includes a currency converter for foreign clients.
“You wouldn’t see me walking the streets searching for business,” she wrote. “I have a college degree. I have a full-time job. I do volunteer work in my community. I contribute to the United Way. … That is the difference between an escort and a prostitute.”
S.C. said the Spitzer scandal has focused unwanted attention on her profession. “First and foremost, if he had been Joe Blow in Louisville, even if he had moved that much money (Spitzer spent $80,000 with the Emperor’s Club), my feelings are there wouldn’t have been that much to-do about it,” she wrote. “The big deal was made because of his hypocrisy. Do I sympathize with the young lady involved? Yes, I do to a degree. When one crosses the line and decides to sell sex, it is a known risk that you take in being ‘outed.’ Once again, if this had been some gentleman in Louisville, her identity probably would have never been divulged.”
S.C., who said she is a single mother, said she turned to escorting when she couldn’t make ends meet. “The washing machine needed to be replaced, I was facing the repossession of my automobile,” she wrote. “I also had children to feed, clothe, provide decent housing for, and more specifically the extra things we as parents want to provide our children.”
She said most of the local escorts she knows are independent contractors because sites like MySpace and Craigslist make it easier to meet interested customers. Most of the men she sees are married, she said, and a small percentage of them want companionship rather than sex.
“Those that are ‘older’ tend to say that their ‘significant other’ has gone through the change and isn’t interested in sex of any kind,” S.C. explained. “I do have a couple of clients that have said that their significant other suffers from a debilitating disease and isn’t able to participate in sexual activities. … This isn’t the most glamorous ‘job’ out there. It also isn’t the worst out there either. There are days when it is just that — a job. But then there are days when it is a lot of fun. I have been lucky in the fact that a few (of the men) that I have met, I am actually able to call my friend. I know that when I pick up the phone and need something, they will be there.”
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