Reporting Mireya Villarreal
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - People like to read reviews online before buying a car or reserving a hotel room. But one website, http://www.eccie.net, once based in North Texas, allows users to review the services of local prostitutes.
CBS 11′s I-Team Investigator Mireya Villarreal confirmed with the Texas Attorney General’s office that the website is a factor in a few of their investigations. They wouldn’t expand on what they’re looking for or share if anything on the site is illegal; but just the idea that you can review prostitutes has a lot of people concerned.
Google the words “escort review” and not far from the top is http://www.eccie.net, a website that’s been around for years, but flourished, while it was based right here in Fort Worth.
Women actually create profiles on this site and customers can post reviews about their services.
“I’m not amazed because I’ve seen worse ads and websites than this,” Jenny Ford, Human Trafficking Expert with ACH Child and Family Services, told us.
Ford’s sole responsibility is to help women and children who’ve been victimized. She says people posting on sites like this often use kinky sex and prostitution as a cover up for sex trafficking.
“It’s happening everywhere. I mean, you can call and get somebody delivered to your house, to your apartment, or to a hotel,” Ford explained.
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has Homeland Security Investigators that scour sites like this for potential trafficking cases. And while ICE works closely with police vice units, shutting down the site completely is nearly impossible.
“A lot of these internet websites are reflective of pure prostitution,” David Marwell, ICE Special Agent In Charge, told us. “Some of these websites have actual legitimate ways of means and services that they produce. So having these websites, looking into this aspect of the websites, doesn’t necessarily make the entire website seizable or being able to close it down.”
The website was once operated by KCN Infosys, LLC, a company created by three people living in North Texas. According to the Secretary of State’s website, the company dissolved last September. But information the CBS 11 I-Team uncovered shows KCN Infosys, LLC has ownership of the domain name till March 2014.
State Senator Leticia Van De Putte has been pushing for years for stricter trafficking laws in Texas. She believes sites like this can lead to human or sex trafficking. That’s why she’s filed SB94, a bill that go after the people using them.
“We know the internet is a problem,” Van De Putte said. “But what’s happened with these internet sites is that they’ve become advertising, money making ventures. This is not your prostitute standing on your street corner. This is online solicitation.”
Van De Putte says if law enforcement can connect individual postings with reports of human trafficking or prostitution complaint, then they’ll go after the poster. The overall goal is to decrease the demand for these kinds of sites and, consequently, decrease human and sex trafficking.
Right now, Van De Putte’s bill (SB94) has been voted through the senate and will be discussed in the house over the next few weeks.
For weeks, we’ve tried to get a hold of the current owners of eccie.net. We even talked to a previous owner, but no one ever took ownership of the site.
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