Madison PD using forum to catch customers of prostitutes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Madison PD using forum to catch customers of prostitutes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Madison police say they've cracked down on the sex trade by infiltrating an online forum popular among customers of prostitutes.

The Wisconsin State Journal says officers have arrested 57 people following eight months of monitoring the Web site.

Police Officer Jeff Pharo says he stumbled across the site while investigating a separate tip. He says the site offered updates of which prostitutes were walking the sidewalk, updates that he confirmed by driving by.

So he created a fake profile to establish himself, then began studying the comments of other people in the forum. The information led to dozens of arrests and citations.

He credits the tactic for identifying clients who were organized enough to avoid being nabbed in traditional stings.

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