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What happens when you call a Craigslist hooker?
January 2, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

What happens when you call a Craigslist hooker?

Tonight I was on Craigslist and ended up browsing the pages where women of the night advertise their services. Many of the postings included pictures which I thought for sure couldn't be real. All of them included phone numbers, but fully half of them had already been removed as 'scams'.

My question is: what's the scam? What happens when you call? Does someone who does not resemble the .jpg show up to your door? What happens then? Are these even adult services or people looking to rob you? I guess I could've called myself just to see what happened, but didn't want them recording my phone number for any reason.

Just to clarify, re: AskMe's terms, I'm not actually seeking a hooker or any illegal advice. I was just naively surprised that the pictures were not of broken-down, meth-ridden ladies, but women who looked like models. Granted this is a large city (Boston) so maybe there is a variety. I've never been with a hooker and not sure I've even see one in real life, which only encourages my fascination.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The larger the city the less likely that hookers are exclusively broken down meth addicts. See Ashley Dupre (Eliot Spitzer's hooker.)

That said I doubt high-end call girls populate Craigslist. But as I have no experience (I swear!) I couldn't say for certain.
posted by dfriedman at 1:22 PM on January 2, 2010


As to seeing a hooker. A game that my friends and I have played in NYC and Washington, DC is to sit in the lobbies of high-end hotels and look for 20-something women on the arms of 50-something men.

These women are likely (high-end) hookers. I'm pretty sure Boston has some high-end hotels where this can be done.
posted by dfriedman at 1:30 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was just naively surprised that the pictures were not of broken-down, meth-ridden ladies, but women who looked like models.

I have met very few sex workers who looked like models, but I've met plenty of sex workers who are quite attractive in person and who looked absolutely gorgeous in their most flattering photographs.

People who advertise for clients for their sex work on Craigslist are generally reasonably market-savvy and computer-savvy professionals, not people who are debilitated by out-of-control addictions.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:39 PM on January 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


The broken down meth addict hookers blow guys for $10 in an alley and don't use the interwebs to advertise their services. The $200 or soish ladies will be quite normal to good looking. However many advertisers on craigslist will put photos of other people and misrepresent themselves. What happens when she shows up at your door and she looks nothing like the photo? Well, you can either tell her to go away or invite her in. But these days many of the ladies advertising on craigslist are really traps set by the police so it is not the best way to procure a "date" for the evening.

For fun, you can use a tineye.com to compare said courtesan to other photos on the web. That is, the photo may be a porn actress you've never heard of, or that photo is advertised in every city in the country. How she can be in Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon at the same time is beyond me. And like any other ad, if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true.

Like dfriedman says, the call girls will troll the lounges of high end bars in hotels like the Four Seasons, etc. I realized I was getting old when these ladies started propositioning me.
posted by birdherder at 1:46 PM on January 2, 2010


I had a roommate who told me her former clients were often surprised that she actually looked like her photo. This makes me think that most women don't match the photo. Besides, the number may be for a service, and they may send over who is still available.
posted by Monday at 1:46 PM on January 2, 2010


I had a friend who was a Cragslist sex worker for a while. She worked through an agency so that, although the picture was of her (and the most flattering picture she had at that), the phone number was the agency's. She didn't advertise very often; they were encouraged to gather a few regular clients and avoid making new ones, for the most part. When called, she would then try to get a feel for the prospective client, making sure he or she wasn't creepy. After that, they would first meet at a neutral, public location. Sometimes, they would do this more than once before she decided to take someone on as a client. I recall her telling me that she was encouraged to bail out at any point if she felt uncomfortable and to let the agency know about it.

Anyway, that's one way it works when it's not a scam. I don't know about how it goes on the scamming end.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:55 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some websites (maybe not Craigslist), ostensibly use a system to report back from clients to assure the photographs that sex workers use are genuine. I can imagine there is a strong incentive for both sides to weed out scams or fakers, even if they're not always successful. Craigslist is probably more hit and miss, but I really don't know.
posted by Sova at 2:01 PM on January 2, 2010


Craigslist's removal message is generic, so you have no way of telling whether it is prohibited, spam/overpost, miscategorized, etc. (There is no 'scam' option, btw) I am guessing since adult services has been removed in the last year, that all these posts are "prohibited".

Aside from cop sting ops and sending an uglier girl than pictured, I don't think there's much of a scam to be had in prostitution; it's pretty profitable anyways.
posted by shownomercy at 2:15 PM on January 2, 2010


Aside from cop sting ops and sending an uglier girl than pictured, I don't think there's much of a scam to be had in prostitution

People still work the badger game (where the would-be john gets robbed instead of serviced), actually.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:21 PM on January 2, 2010


Through another AskMe question, I discovered the blog of College Callgirl. She didn't put her photo or phone number in her Craigslist ad, but did put in text adverts and an email address. Clients would then email and the negotiations (and photo exchanges) would begin. I think in one of her posts she talked about the ones who had photos and phone numbers were agency girls, and if 'Alyccia' (in the photo) wasn't available, the agency would try to send you some one else.
posted by Kerasia at 2:22 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, on The Police Women of Broward County, the undercover police officer asks you to meet her at a motel, you go, she asks you what you want from the "menu," and then once you hand over the money, a bunch more police dudes and ladies bust in the door and arrest you.
posted by so_gracefully at 3:00 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some sex workers can be accused of false advertising, most will stretch their truth. But their body is their brand and it's in their best interest to attract as many enquiries as possible. They're betting that you'll be so overcome with anticipating horniness that you'll take the person that turns up even if they've stretched the truth.

And sometimes the scam is that you'll be robbed by some boofy bloke who now knows you are currently alone with possibly a few hundred cash on you, and possibly unlikely to call the police for fear of being exposed.

But please note:
They're called sex workers. It's a legitimate profession where you pay people for their services. My physio uses her body to manipulate mine. I'm in my underwear, there's oil involved and moans of delight and agony from me.

And you would have seen sex worker in real life. They're everywhere and can look like your mum, sister, wife or grandmother. Or uncle, father, brother... anyone really.

Pejorative language about sex workers and their work is unhelpful and marginalising.
posted by taff at 3:04 PM on January 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I was just naively surprised that the pictures were not of broken-down, meth-ridden ladies, but women who looked like models.

Like taff, I'm surprised you're surprised. Sex workers are everywhere, but I guess if you were not wise to the presentation and prevelence, you might not notice them. If you want to know how a typical cash for sex transaction takes place, I would suggest PunterNet as an excellent source to browse experience reviews. I think you'll find it's pretty... normal. You might also enjoy Belle de Jour's books.

FWIW, I get a lot of calls like the one you didn't want to make - someone posted my name, number and a presumably glowing review of my services as a sex worker on a site somewhere. Sadly, the only paid services I provide are unrelated to the immediate wants and needs of these callers (I'm a web designer and developer), but they have uniformly been polite and only about a third of them withold their number.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:52 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Red Book also has customer reviews of sex workers. Not in Boston though.
posted by meehawl at 6:09 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having been a fashion photographer in another lifetime, I can tell you that not even all models are models. The camera is a funny thing, it distorts in most unpredictable ways. Some women I photographed were (IMHO) downright freakish/ugly, but something about their facial bone structure worked for the camera. And of course, the #1 factor: makeup. I always worked with a team of makeup artists - what these folks could do would blow your mind. Bottom line: the photos may be of the very woman you see at the door, even if she looks like nothing in the photo. If she's a pro who values advertising, she'll get photographed professionally, and at the end of that process may look like a different person. That's even before photoshop, which these days is routine (bleh).
posted by VikingSword at 6:57 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a pretty large number of sex workers who actually don't do face-to-face meetings (rather, it's paid phone sex, sex texting, sex emails, etc). They advertise their services on Craigslist using models' photos (usually just "real" looking enough to not seem like a pro) that they pay for on content sites specifically for this purpose. Some workers are just paid promoters for larger companies offeirng phone/text services, and they hit Craigslist and other, similar sites with ads suggesting they are available for face-to-face meetings when they are not. Tips and tricks for getting around Craigslist's phone/IP verifications are as rampant as SEO tricks. So some of these "hookers" may not be hookers at all, but rather are selling something else entirely under a persona that's not really them.
posted by justonegirl at 7:08 PM on January 2, 2010


Most of them are people trying to get by in a competitive and illegal business. So those pictures are often of them but often in better times: younger, more makeup, better lighting, a little photoshop, etc. Sometimes they are representative and sometimes they are not; there is no hard and fast rule. As to what happens: typically you need to go to them (outcall) instead of them coming to you (incall) as they value their own safety a great deal more than yours. Again individuals vary but a common technique is to have you drive to a location, get out of your car, then call them on your cell and they will tell you exactly what street address to go to.

Protip: search for phone numbers on CL or "police" for extra fun. Cops often bust ladies and then reuse their pictures and phone number to bust johns.
posted by chairface at 1:06 AM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


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