Jerald Bland of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Houston to transportation of a woman for commercial sex. Bland had used a hotel business center to post online ads offering a woman for prostitution. Bland faces up to 10 years in prison and remains in custody.
During 2010, Bland transported a woman to Beaumont and to Louisiana to work as a prostitute. Investigators used online ads and corresponding hotel records in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Because the internet has changed the face of prostitution, there are many new issues that must be dealt with in a prostitution prosecution.
In the major Louisiana cities, especially Baton Rouge and New Orleans, law enforcement agencies have been making numerous prostitution arrests using any number of undercover methods, including:
- Sting Operations – Wearing provocative clothing and posing as prostitutes, police officers use this roadside method to lure would-be customers off the street and into the bedroom, only to be arrested for prostitution.
- Prostitution Ring Breakups – Using the reverse tactic from sting operations, police officers pose as customers seeking to find sex for hire. Once inside the supposed massage parlors or with the personal escort, the police will make arrests upon determining the falsehood of the organization.
- Sex Online – Websites galore offer services for companionship as a cover up for prostitution. Acting as potential customers for these Internet-based sites, law enforcement agencies are able to distinguish the legal from the illegal and make prostitution arrests accordingly. In Baton Rouge, law enforcement is especially targeting online personal profile ads, such as those seen on Craig’s List.org. With increasing Internet usage, sex-oriented websites are under close scrutiny for suspicious illegal sexual activities.
Source: The Associated Press, “Houston man guilty in online prostitution ads case,”January 4, 2012.