WKYT Investigates: Prostitution moves from street corner to online

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - Capt. Robert Swanigan with the Georgetown Police Department said his department's investigation into backpage.com started a couple of months ago.

That's when a couple of robberies in Georgetown happened, allegedly, while victims were soliciting the services of prostitutes.

"When the prostitutes arrived at the scene, they got more than they signed on for. They got robbed," Swanigan told WKYT.

But how the alleged prostitutes ended up there is what eventually led to a sting operation by Georgetown Police. They say the website, backpage.com, is a breeding ground for prostitute services. The site looks a lot like popular online site Craigslist.

"It is very similar to Craigslist. In past years, we had pretty significant problems with those type of advertisements on Craigslist. They've cracked down and are not as prominent as Backpage is now," Swanigan said.

On most of the ads, you see a disclaimer, saying donations are for time and companionship only.

"They can put the disclaimer on the website that it's for time and companionship, but once they get to the actual location, that's a different story," Swanigan said.

For the first time ever, Georgetown police conducted a sting operation stemming from backpage.com Thursday night. Police contacted several women and agreed to meet them at a local hotel.

"Then, once inside the hotel, they offered to perform sexual acts for money and subsequently they were arrested and charged with prostitution," Swanigan said.

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