Prostitution moves from streets to web

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Although you may not see them leaning on lamp-posts at street corners, there are still prostitutes trolling the Stateline Area.

And in the digital era, it appears the Internet sometimes is used to facilitate the world’s oldest profession.

A Beloit woman and a Janesville woman are scheduled for trial April 3 in Walworth County after being arrested last June in a sting operation conducted by Whitewater police at a motel in that city.

A 32-year-old Beloit woman, who lists a West Side address, was arrested for prostitution-related charges, a Class A misdemeanor, on June 28 in the sting.

A 25-year-old Janesville woman was arrested on June 29 in the sting.

The two women face a maximum sentence of nine months in jail or up to a $10,000 fine for the misdemeanor crime.

According to the criminal complaint for the Beloit woman, an undercover officer responded to an ad by “lil momma” on the website www.backpage.com in the adult escorts section. The ad said she was available in the Wisconsin Dells, Janesville, Beloit and surrounding areas. Upon arrest the woman said she usually stuck around Beloit and when she needed money would ask for it from her ex-boyfriend.

The officer agreed to meet the woman at the motel in exchange for $250. After the money was exchanged the officers arrested her. Her driver, a 52-year-old Madison man, was charged with pandering.

On July 10, officers learned the same Beloit woman was arrested by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for prostitution at a truck stop at 5901 Highway 51 in the Township of Burke.

And on July 18, she was arrested again by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for prostitution-related charges. During a traffic stop a police canine indicated drugs were in the vehicle and a subsequent search turned up drug paraphernalia, according to police documents.

Beloit Police Capt. Vince Sciame said only a few people are arrested each year in Beloit for prostitution, usually when drugs are involved.

Although there could be more prostitution activity, Sciame said the Beloit Police don’t have the staffing to monitor websites to see if someone is soliciting.

“Unless we have a complaint of some type of activity like that occurring we don’t have the resources to actively investigate those types of crimes,” Sciame said.

In a Daily News search of www.backpage.com, under the “escort” listing, there were roughly 10 women offering their services who listed Beloit as their coverage area, two who listed South Beloit and one ad which included the Rockton and Roscoe area for the month of January alone.

There were more than 20 postings for Janesville.

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