US arrests online pimps

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NEW YORK, 26 August 2015: Seven New Yorkers were arrested and charged with promoting male prostitution on Tuesday through an “Internet brothel” offering sex to paid-subscribers across the world, prosecutors said.

The website offered services at destinations as far away as Thailand and even Afghanistan.

Website rentboy.com hosts thousands of paid advertisements from men, primarily offering prostitution internationally and in cities across the United States, prosecutors said.

The site racked up more than USD10 million in gross proceeds in the last five years alone, officials said.

inside no 9The US government was working to shut down the site but it was still accessible Tuesday, offering services in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The government also issued warrants to seize more than USD1.4 million of alleged criminal proceeds from six bank accounts.

“This internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” said acting US attorney Kelly Currie in the eastern district of New York.

The six men and one woman arrested in New York face up to five years behind bars and a fine of USD250,000 if convicted. They will face criminal charges at the US federal court in Brooklyn, officials said.

They were identified as Jeffrey Hurant, 50, alleged CEO of the website, together with employees Michael Belman, 47, Clint Calero, 48, Edward Estanol, 23, Shane Lukas, 41, Marco Decker, 28 and Diana Mattos, 43.

Prosecutors said subscribers pay up to several hundred dollars a month to advertise paid sexual services on the website.

They can also allegedly link to another website where their sexual prowess is rated by prior customers.

Prostitution is illegal in the United States, except for in isolated counties in the state of Nevada.

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