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Nevertheless, Melissa had a wide range of clientele — single and married business owners, doctors, politicians, teachers, law enforcement, and even religious leaders.

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All of them were willing to disrobe in front of a stranger, in an unfamiliar place, to satisfy their emotional or physical need for sex. Instead, the men would negotiate a sex act, place money on the table, have their fun and leave — hopefully before church ended.

The brief, often minute to 1-hour trysts, are risky for the client. Not only is patronizing a prostitute a misdemeanor crime, but the men risk destroying their families, reputations and careers.

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And yet, according to Melissa and several other prostitutes interviewed by EastIdahoNews. John is another term used to refer to the clientele of sex workers. That is the root of the problem, Melissa said. The demand for sex — both from those who sell themselves freely, and from those who are trafficked — is high, largely because the consequences of buying a person for sex are relatively low.

Things are changing in Idaho though, as efforts are underway in the Legislature to discourage people from seeking out paid sexual experiences.

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She was in her mids at the time, living a typical upper middle-income life. She had a successful husband and several adult and teenage children who were active in school and sports.

She owned a home, had a respected career and had earned several graduate degrees. And yet for 18 months, Melissa traded her professional attire for lingerie and secretly posed provocatively for online so men would pay to have sex with her. Melissa had a friend, a middle-aged male business owner, who showed her personal he used on Craigslist and Back. He suggested that money could be made by selling herself online.

Melissa hesitantly agreed and the business owner, who EastIdahoNews.

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During that first encounter, there was physical contact between her and the man, but no sex was involved. The ability to pay bills was enough to entice Melissa to continue the relationship with the business owner. Melissa took semi-nude photos of herself and gave them to her now-pimp.

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He bought classified on Back for Melissa, advertising her as an escort. He set up the encounters, bought the hotel rooms, and even took her to appointments. They split the commission.

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All of the former and current escorts who were interviewed by EastIdahoNews. Melissa engaged in more than encounters during her 18 months as a escort, with most of the encounters arranged through Back. Authorities monitor Back and similar sites regularly to catch prostitution, but Melissa was never arrested, charged or even challenged by authorities.

To her knowledge, neither were any of her clients. It also stems from the client. They are fearful. Most of the prostitutes interviewed by EastIdahoNews. The dictionary definition of escorting is a man or a woman that is hired to go with someone to a social event. There is no direct data on how prevalent prostitution is in east Idaho.

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Of the escorts interviewed by EastIdahoNews. There is consistently between 10 to 15 personal for escorts on the major classified and adult escort websites every day.

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The never stay up long. Some of these are spam; others are police decoy s set up to catch potential johns.

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But most of the are from traveling escorts or those who are being trafficked. These men and women often travel in groups around neighboring states, staying for a weekend, advertising themselves and then quickly leaving the area. In Idaho Falls, a single prostitute was arrested inandrespectively — two were roving escorts from Oregon and one was local. The last time a client was arrested for solicitation was inwhen four people were taken into custody. In Rexburg no one has been arrested for prostitution since beforebut one person was arrested for solicitation in The same is true in Pocatello, although two prostitution arrests were made in Chubbuck.

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Bryan Lovell said the internet has made arresting escorts and clients much more difficult. Idaho code stipulates an escort and a client must agree to a fee in exchange for a sex act to be found guilty of a crime. Jasmyn is a veteran sex worker who hails from Pocatello.

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The woman, who is in her mids, has been escorting full time or part time on her own for nearly a decade. Unlike Melissa, Jasmyn is a roving worker and is still very much involved in the sex trade. She moved to Utah several years ago after her children grew up and left home. Now she visits Pocatello at least once a month to service longtime clientele.

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The veteran sex worker says after a decade of work, she rarely takes a new client, which greatly reduces her risk of being caught or turned in. Another tactic used by local sex workers is redefining the traditional role of a escort to avoid arrest. Kat, an Idaho Falls woman in her 30s, uses Back to arrange sexual encounters with individuals or couples.

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She describes herself as a dominatrix and a sugar baby. A sugar baby is typically a person in some sort of romantic relationship who receives cash, gifts or other benefits in exchange for being in that relationship. Sites like SeekingArrangement.

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Graham says to prosecute, there needs to be proof of an agreement to engage in sexual conduct for money, either from a witness who observed or participated, or from a video or photo of the interaction. Alternatively, a case can sometimes be prosecuted with circumstantial evidence such a financial ledger or client list. Local sex workers are careful to protect their clients and hide any evidence.

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Kat told EastIdahoNews. She also extensively screens and is selective about new clients in order to avoid any legal entanglements. There is no set demographic for people seeking sex for money. Thousands of men and a smaller of women of all ages are caught annually across the country engaging in paid sex with escorts, according to a U.

Department of Justice study. But older, straight men still appear to be the predominant customers nationwide.

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That holds true in east Idaho, where escorts tell EastIdahoNews. The vast majority of clients are married. Jasymn, Melissa and Kat all agree there is a tremendous amount of emotion attached to the decision to buy sex.

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Kat believes most men do it out of a desire to feel some excitement and enjoy variety. There is something emotional going on for you to reach out to a prostitute in that setting and pay for it. In addition, a subsection of clientele uses adult or child prostitutes to physically or sexually abuse them.

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Local escorts say this happens more commonly to trafficked prostitutes. The DOJ study specifically mentions all these examples as reasons men hire prostitutes. They also added fear of conventional relationships, perceived ugliness and a desire to engage in illicit sexual behavior as additional motivation. Whatever the reason, the escorts try to establish a superficial friendship with the client to meet their needs.

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You realize these are just ordinary people where something is disengaged in their life. The prevalence of prostitution in Idaho is a concern for many local and state officials, particularly because of the growth of human and child sex trafficking across the Gem State.

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At a local level, law enforcement is actively engaged in training to better understand prostitution and the problems that appear alongside it. Some of these women may be being held against their will, and other crimes may be occurring alongside prostitution.

On the state level, Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Brent Crane R-Nampa is hoping new laws will help fight prostitution and specifically deter human trafficking and sex slavery. He has proposed legislation that would make it a felony crime for an individual to patronize a prostitute even once. Currently, patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor in Idaho that becomes a felony only after the third charge.

Crane has been working with non-profit group INsideOUT in Eagle and with former trafficked prostitutes to craft anti-prostitution legislation. You have to go after the guys who are purchasing this. We need to send a clear message that the boys and girls of Idaho are not for sale.

Several young women testified johns are equally as dangerous as traffickers and frequently abuse and rape their victims. One woman described that as she was choked, tied up, cut with knives and then penetrated with sharp objects by an abusive john. He just wanted the sex.

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They severely abused and raped me. It was horrible for me. During the hearing, several representatives brought up concerns that the law could unfairly penalize prostitution cases where both the escort and the client are consenting adults.

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He emphasized that no girl leaves high school dreaming about a career in prostitution. They are either addicted to a drug, they owe money or the pimp has some sort of power over them. ZIP:

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