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How Escort Services Use Counter-Surveillance To Evade The Cops

How Escort Services Use Counter-Surveillance To Evade The Cops
IndiaLaw Order1 min read
Geisha, a prostitute working at the Chicken Ranch brothel, rests in her bed in Pahrump, Nev., Tuesday, March 31, 2009.     AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

A new government-sponsored report on America's sex industry has revealed how pimps and escorts avoid detection by cops these days.

The report by the Urban Institute analyzes information on the trade in eight cities: Miami, Dallas, Washington, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta, and Kansas City, Mo.

Owners of escort services (essentially high-end prostitution services) structure their business carefully, keeping meticulous books and investing in shell companies or real estate, according to the report.

"We filed taxes and opened a business account … It was an escort service that allowed for massage and strip tease, but it was the acts of prostitution that made it illegal. We had them sign contracts [that included prohibitions against prostitution], but we turned our heads," one person affiliated with an escort service explained in the report.

Unlike any other street prostitutes, escort services actually use credit cards and often keep most of their money on the books, essentially hiding from law enforcement in plain sight.

Owners also run counter-surveillance on the police who are trying to track them down. According to one law enforcement officer, there is a website called "Rate a Cop" for escort services to keep tabs.

Prostitutes are also trained to suss out possible sting operations by proactively attempting to identify law enforcement prior to committing incriminating transactions.

Strategies include:

Asking directly if they are the police

Watching customer's body language, movement, and appearance for suspicious or nervous behavior

Describing all actions taken by customers aloud so that, should a police officer do something inappropriate during a sting operation, it is recorded and usable in court.

Actively pushing police during a sting to do something they aren't supposed to do