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Craigslist the New Street Corner for Prosties

Bensalem, Pa- Craigslist is the new street corner for hookers.

Ladies of the night are posting ads on the free classified Web site just like others sell old furniture or collectibles. All you need is “ro$e$” to “buy” their offerings.

A craigslist spokeswoman said the site can’t and won’t police the site and relies on consumers to complain about each ad. But Bensalem police investigators, who this week busted 12 suspected prostitutes advertising on the site, were blown away when they first found ads like those posted by “Bensalem Beauty” and the “Oral Specialist.”

One poster in August claimed she was stopping in Langhorne for the day and was looking for “donations of 300 for a visit.” She was only available until 4:15 p.m. that day, though, she said. Another poster calls herself a “quick afternoon snack” for “100 roses.”

Bensalem’s Special Investigations Unit was tipped off in August about prostitutes advertising on the site. One undercover officer said when he started surfing the site, he was amazed at how blatant the ads are and how detailed the sex acts listed are. And many prostitutes’ ads include nude photos or even short videos of themselves in action, something prostitutes posing as escorts can’t do in the Yellow Pages.

Investigators scrolled the hundreds of erotic listings and called the cell phone numbers at the bottom of the ads offering “GFEs” – girlfriend experiences – for “ro$e$” or “125 donations” and agreed to meet the women at motels on Lincoln Highway.

The undercover investigator said normally an escort will take a few minutes to determine whether they are talking to a cop before offering a sex act or setting a price. But not the women on craigslist whom he said walked into the motel room, made a deal and never even questioned if he was a cop. Almost all of the 12 women were arrested within two minutes, he said.

Prostitutes, though, weren’t the only ones police were after in their sting operation that started Tuesday and ended Thursday afternoon. They also targeted alleged drug dealers who the suspected prostitutes sent to “buyers.”

Police said Bobbie Lynn Godshall, 23, of Philadelphia, brought her drug dealing boyfriend, Brian Sanders, also of Philadelphia, and their 3-year-old daughter up to one motel where they sold police five OxyContin pills for $175. They were arrested, their daughter was released to a family member and police called the Department of Human Services.

Other prostitutes brought their drug dealers, too, police said. Suspected dealer Vincent Vaccariello of Kensington Avenue in Philadelphia met police at a parking lot on Route 1 Thursday afternoon and was taken into custody. Police said he had 55 bags of heroin and 87 bags of crack hidden in his pants.

Final arrest toll, five alleged drug dealers and the 12 women.

The four charged with drug offenses are Sanders, Godshall, Vaccariello, Andre Jones of Philadelphia and Wayne Murawski, also of Philadelphia. Sanders and Godshall are also charged with conspiracy.

The women charged with prostitution are: Davina Duffy of Alabama, Ashley Smith of Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia residents Colleen Dunn, Lisa Collins, Sonia Lopez, Sameerah Satterwaite, Kameelah Evans, Lisa Perez, Ying Song, Jixic Feng and Nadirah Benson-Duval. Another woman also was charged, but police refused to release her name because they said she was cooperating.

Women, though, aren’t the only ones using the Web site. Their customers are, too, like the man from Yardley who wants a “roseworthy” woman to meet him for “untranslated oral conversation” in his car. Or the two men in Doylestown looking for topless girls to serve as poker dealers.

Bensalem’s Public Safety Director Fred Harran said these prostitutes were willing to go anywhere in Lower Bucks, not just his township, to make money.

By Thursday afternoon last week, one poster alerted other users about a Courier Times story on the prostitution crackdown by Bensalem police.

“They would meet us under a tree if that’s what we wanted,” Harran said. “They are blatantly taking advantage of technology to solicit their acts and we are going to use technology to arrest them.”

Harran said that craigslist is knowingly allowing criminal activity to be advertised.

“Prostitution is not allowed on craigslist as noted in our terms of use, any more than tax fraud is allowed by the IRS or speeding by the police,” craigslist spokeswoman Sue MacTavish Best said, calling the line between a legal escort ad and a prostitution ad “gray.”

She said craigslist cooperates with law enforcement and removes prohibited content when the site becomes aware of it. Craigslist has a flagging system that allows users to bring prohibited content to the company’s attention.

But scrolling through the erotic services section, users can see reviews of the sexual performances of various posters: Victoria in Trevose was a “Grand Ole time,” one man took the time to post. Victoria’s post, “Incall located in Trevose on Rt. 1 $125 1/2 and $225 1hr.”


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