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Craigslist Killers Constant Danger for Erotic Service Providers

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Cyber-Marketing Doesn't Make Sex Work Safer

Coverage of "death trick" Philip Markoff accused of killing masseuse Julissa Brisman and robbing prostitute Trisha Leffler in Boston and a prostitute in Rhode Island shows the sordid underbelly of the actress/model/singer/dancer but currently a stripper syndrome.

Long before Craigslist, Internet porn, webcam sex and 888 numbers, attractive women who wanted their looks to pay their rent while they became the next Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan or Madonna had to work in bars called Big Daddy's or Candyland.

There women had to hustle drinks-if the man sprung for "champagne" he was brought to the back room-while waiting for their turn to lap and pole dancing and before their turn to sweep the floor and clean the ash trays. Nice work if you can get it.

In addition to watching management pocket 80 percent of the take-even enforcing non-compete arrangements; hey, it's a business-the glamorous lifestyle usually included a drug habit and shakedowns by the police, sexual and monetary or both.

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When sex work went tech and 888 numbers debuted, the job became physically safer but psychologically more invasive said women who reported the constant outpouring of unsavory sexual messages in the ear is hard to extinguish. Especially because you know...those guys are out there!

When sex work went Web it appeared a boon for actress/model/singer/dancers who could "showcase" their talents from the privacy of their home computer. But the same lurid and raunchy crew of pimps, sexual opportunists, con men and "casting couchers" who shadow Big Daddy's and Candyland are of course online. Hello.

In fact they say the only successful actress/model/singer/dancer who's ever really avoided opportunist men, includes fathers, is Madonna because she's her own pimp.

Sadly, women like Julissa Brisman, Trisha Leffler or Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the woman in the Eliot Spitzer prostitution ring arrest, probably have a greater chance of meeting violence and death than their dreams of stardom online.

Because when a woman has an improvident one night stand and does the "shame walk" home, when her "friends" post or sext her moments of dissipation or compromise or she "shares" them herself on her blog or webpage that's one thing.

But when she declares on the Web- I am all alone in a room waiting to meet and provide erotic services to you, whoever you are-that's real prostitution.

She joins the ranks of prostitutes who risk being robbed, cheated, raped, knifed, shot, beaten up, given diseases, dosed with drugs, strangled, extorted, made pregnant, abducted and arrested every day of their lives. Cybermarketing doesn't make it any safer.

Of course you try not to think about the dangers say recovering sex workers who, in most cases, are engaging in sex work both for and on drugs.

Neither do you want to think about engaging in physical intimacies with someone you don't know, don't trust, don't like, are repulsed by and who treats you like a disposable commodity all because you need the money and can't say no say former prostitutes in self help groups.

(One woman describes it like this: Imagine the most repulsive man on the subway. Now imagine having sex with him. Welcome to the world of prostitution.)

But when a nervous john or inappropriate john like a good looking medical student in his early twenties who has no reason to visit a sex worker appears, it may be the first time a woman realizes just how outside of the law and society's protection she has strayed.

And it may be too late.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

See More: Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster chats with Judyth Piazza on the American Perspective Radio Program
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