JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Let me fulfill your fantasies, a working man’s special, and girls – sultry and skilled. These are just some of the posts we found tonight on the Jacksonville section of Backpage.com.
The website offers free ad space, but there’s a special section under adult services for escorts where ads imply the women (and men) are willing to do a lot more than that.
A research project by Arizona State University found nearly 80 percent of the ads posted under the adult services section of Backpage.com were for prostitutes.
"This is just another avenue for which these folks have a chance to try to advertise illegal services,” said Shannon Hartley, a spokesman with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Police are catching on to this underground brothel. This past weekend there was a bust on the Southside involving a 19-year-old girl. Her arrest report shows she was linked to a prostitution ring after police saw multiple ads on Backpage.
So, we decided to do some digging. When no one from the website responded to our inquiries, we started calling the escorts.
A young woman by the name of Alley, who never said she was a prostitute, but posts on the website that she’ll “try anything twice” and can “make your every fantasy come true,” told us over the phone she’s been on the site for a few months now and it’s proved profitable.
But is it legal?
"Unless the advertisement is specifically advertising something illegal, it's legal,” Hartley said, “But they tend to utilize keywords that imply there’s more to it.”
JSO has a specific unit designated to monitor and track this type of activity.