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"From time to time, we do go out and arrest those girls," he says, "but it's not a priority for us. It's something we do as one of the responsibilities of vice squad." For a unit that must monitor child pornography, check out adult nightclubs, enforce liquor violations, investigate extortion and murder for hire, as well as play a role in the joint terrorism task force, prostitution tends to get pushed down on the list of priorities.
Still, cops like Daughenbaugh are well-aware that the Internet has supplanted traditional tactics of the flesh-marketing trade, especially localized ones. "It's amazing to me how many girls are out there prostituting themselves," he says.
Websites that review, discuss, and advertise the escort services usually do so with a disclaimer: "Money exchanged is intended for companionship only and modeling services. Anything else that may or may not occur is a matter of personal choice between two consenting adults of legal age and is not contracted for, nor is it requested to be contracted for in any manner. This is not an offer of prostitution."
Despite the professions of innocence, the effect of such sites on the prostitution business have been revolutionary. In a relatively short time, the Internet has helped take prostitutes off the streets and placed them in the digital maze of cyberspace, revolutionizing and protecting the industry. Many site operators and webmasters, authorities say, are educated opportunists turned computer geeks, eager to peddle women on-line with their newfound HTML or Dreamweaver skills.
While newbie escorts can post small classifieds for as little as $20 a month on the web, national sites like Cityvibe.com and Bigdoggie.net (yes, it's still operating) contain local subdirectories for cities coast to coast that cater to the upscale. Banner ads for multigirl agencies with 954 area codes abound on Eros' Miami link, featuring photos of women with eye-popping physiques and descriptions of hair color, height, weight, measurements, and more.
Skipping through the hundreds of color photos of women on these sites, it's as easy to highlight a service provider whom a web surfer might be interested in as it is to add an item to an Amazon shopping cart. But an understanding of the blunt jargon of these inner-circle acronyms is key to knowing exactly what you're getting. When "Caroline" says, "Because of my fascination with men, and the fact that I love to please, I'm sure you will consider me a total GFE -- and then some," you know she's promising you a girlfriend experience, which probably means she's going to try some method acting on you. A GFE would, of course, be preferable to a "clockwatcher," a provider who rushes and does not enjoy her work. Some Cuban girls will list special rates for TLN -- toda la noche.
Are you looking for an incall (going to her place) or an outcall (yours)? Does she offer a BBBJ ("bareback blow job," without use of a condom)? Or BBBJTCWS ("...to completion with swallowing")? If you're paying for it -- and willing to expose yourself to AIDS -- it pays to know this stuff.
Some customers look for a "spinner." According to one escort glossary, that means "a very petite provider." Etymology: From the 1970s toy Sit 'n' Spin. If you happen to like 'em skinny, don't call and order a BBW ("big beautiful woman"). A "white knight" is used to describe the easily-suckered older dude who becomes caught up in trying to protect the honor and dignity of beleaguered escorts. The acronyms and code words could fill a dictionary.
SoFlaCompanions -- whose contact, Steve Berger, declined to be interviewed by New Times -- and its more vibrant competitor, Independentgirls.com, focus on Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. SFC runs an "ad gallery" as well as reviews of local independent escorts, spas, studios, massage parlors, strip clubs, and escort agencies. Independentgirls.com runs ads from some of the area's biggest escort agencies too, each boasting dozens of hotties awaiting your phone call.
Neither site lists advertising rates, and according to some advertisers, women are allowed to place photographs and blurbs for free. Independentgirls offers men "VIP" and "High Roller" memberships for $400 a year, promising customers discounted dates and other perks, like airlines offering frequent-flier miles.
But reviews, if they are to be believed, leave no doubt what happens on "dates." Outlander52 had this to say about a wonderful summer's evening spent with an escort named Candy: "Extraordinary oral skills. Lovely skin to run my fingers over, amazing nipples to savor. To say the finish was astounding is putting it mildly. Drained, emptied, unloaded, and evacuated only begin to describe how satisfying the ending was."
Most revealing of all is the buzzing IndiBoard linked to Independentgirls.com. This on-line discussion forum seems to confirm Silverburg's notion of South Florida as a vast, nonstop yeast culture of deals and rendezvous. A recent, late-afternoon peak showed 107 users logging on in a 15-minute period. There's no better place to exchange news, gossip, and information about the escort world in the tricounty area. Euphemisms again abound: Those selling favors are "providers"; those parting with their cash are "hobbyists."