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While many in Milwaukee have heard stories about notorious pick-up zones, the world's oldest profession, like everything else, has gone high-tech. Consider it another example of the internet changing the way people do business.

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Police say they "go after the Johns just as much as we go after the prostitutes. It's the familiar song-and-dance of the stereotypical call-girl. And while many in Milwaukee have heard stories about notorious pick-up zones, the truth of the matter is the world's oldest profession, like everything else, has gone high-tech.

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Sites like Craigslist, Heaven or Hell and The Escort Review take the guesswork out of finding a companion for the evening -- or even a few hours. On Craigslist alone, dozens of advertisements are posted for courtesans under "Erotic Services" every day.

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The police department's vice squ, as documented in by OnMilwaukee. But just as officers work the streets to smack down solicitation, they're also doing the same job without even needing to leave their desks.

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The Milwaukee Police Department has been working to combat the online offerings provided by various Web sites with a of enforcement programs. A detective with the MPD vice squad, who asked to remain anonymous, says the department has made hundreds of arrests over the last five years.

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But the police aren't just looking for the prostitutes. Once a price is established over the phone, the officers arrive at a deated meeting place and place the suspect under arrest when money is exchanged. At the same time, the police will often post an ad online and wait for a call If the caller offers money in exchange for a sex act, a meeting is made and arrest is made.

The women posting are much different than the stereotypical street-walkers. While those women are more often than not addicted to cocaine or heroin, and turning tricks just to get their next hit, the women posting online are, according to the detective, a little more sophisticated. The majority of those girls are operating as a sort of business enterprise or are doing it to supplement their income.

There is a higher level of sophistication with these girls, running it as a business.

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But because of its simplistic format, and the ability -- ly -- to post for free, the site is often a prime target. In addition, the company filed a lawsuit against 14 companies and posters believed to be using the bulletin board to exploit children, offer sex for money and for human trafficking.

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According to the company, revenue generated by the posting fees is donated to charity. Also, the telephone data provided by posters is made available to law enforcement agencies to assist in criminal investigations.

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Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster contends the amount of illegal activity taking place via the popular Web site is much smaller than is alleged, but nonetheless feels it was prudent to step up the company's measures. Prostitution is often called a "victimless crime," but the detective disagrees. He points to the of crimes that can stem from prostitution; including robbery, battery, drug crimes and sometimes, murder.

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It's not something we think is victimless. If you look at a street prostitute, she's not out there because she's a nymphomaniac.

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She's out there because she's hopelessly addicted to heroin or cocaine. They get into cars with strange men and drive away. They become victims of rape.

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They get taken advantage of by pimps that are out there. They're going out, engaging in prostitution and the pimps take the money from them.

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There are a lot of instances of exploitation out there. The women are victims. ZIP: 53203 53202 53207 53206 53205 53204 53209 53208 53233 53211 53218 53219 53214 53215 53216 53210 53212 53213 53295 53225 53224 53227 53226 53221 53220 53223 53222 53228 53201 53237 53259 53263 53274 53278 53288 53290 53293

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