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Henrico Police Focus on Internet Solicitation of Prostitution

I practice criminal law all over the state of Virginia but extensively in the Central Virginia area including Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, Petersburg and the surrounding areas. The police in Henrico in particular have been developing a new focus in how they pursue both people engaged in prostitution and those looking for prostitutes, the "johns". I have talked with several Henrico vice investigators and they are now regularly going to internet sites, especially backpage.com and looking for ladies that advertise on those sites. Essentially, they call posing as johns and set up a time to meet. The investigator will wear some kind of wire and then get the girl to say what she will do for a particular price. The investigator will offer the money and then once the girl has done some act that shows she is willing to engage in providing sexual favors for the offered money he will say a prearranged code word that lets the other vice investigators know that they have enough and they can come in and arrest the girl.

Once they have girl under arrest they will try and get information about how these girls operate their business from them. They will also use the fact that they have a charge against the prostitute to get her to operate as an agent of the police. They will have the girls field calls so that they can make cases against guys looking for prostitutes.

I have had several of these cases over the past few months representing people charged with prostitution and those charged with solicitation. I was able to get the charges against a woman charged with prostitution dismissed because although they had the internet posting from that young lady on the day in question they could not prove that what she did was enough to show she was willing to engage in prostitution on that day.

The moral of the story is that in Henrico the investigators are devoting significant resources to policing prostitution and they are not just going after the girl on the corner.