A website that allowed everyday folks to review, rent and even privately message potential prostitutes and escorts has been seized by federal authorities. Now, those who frequent IndependentGirls.com must look elsewhere, whether for business or pleasure.
A joint task force of the FBI, the Southern District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that the call-girl website had been taken out of the hands of a South Florida man.
The website’s intent wasn’t just geared for those wishing to buy, rent or even casually view women, but it was also a way for escort agencies to advertise themselves and their clients. It was also an avenue for independent escorts to solicit themselves, and potential buyers on the site to post comments about escorts and prostitutes with whom they have encountered, according to the Miami Herald.
The call-girl website allowed customers to casually browse and, for a nominal fee, they could read and write reviews for prostitutes. In addition, they could privately message prostitutes who were readily available and answering at the time.
Those with upgraded paid accounts were also privy to the website’s exclusive private parties and private messaging with escorts and prostitutes.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said crack downs on websites like these help curb and drastically slow the flow of human sex trafficking.
“I commend BSO detectives and our federal partners, who, through this significant arrest and seizure of this website, have made a large impact on the human trafficking activities in South Florida,” Sheriff Tony said.
Authorities have said minors were victims exploited on the site. George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office said sex trafficking “will not be tolerated” whether in person or through channels like the worldwide web.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan echoed the sentiment that halting the manipulation of children for sex, and other human trafficking, remained a focus for his office.
“Our goal, as a law enforcement community, is to ensure that websites that facilitate human trafficking and child exploitation cease to exist and that traffickers are held accountable in a court of law for their criminal exploits,” Orshan said.
Neil Steven Greenberg, a South Florida resident who allegedly owned the website, was arrested in April for two counts of producing child pornography. While law enforcement officials searched his home, they found two videos of him having sex with two minors, according to The Herald.