Like many Internet entrepreneurs, Veronica Monet manages her own homepage. Her website is called veronicamonet.com, and visitors can view photographs of Monet and find out about her public appearances. There is one thing Internet users can do at Monet's site that they can't do at many other homepages, however. They can call or email Monet to set up an appointment to have sex with her. On 'CyberCrime' this week we see how prostitution has moved into cyberspace.
"Most people would probably call me a prostitute," Monet told "CyberCrime" segment producer Jon Taylor. "They might call me a high-class escort."
Monet says the Internet is an ideal way to reach potential clients.
"It may be the first time they have entertained the idea of paying for sex," she said. "And they are a totally different class of people. They're usually very educated [and] successful. A lot of them have a tremendous amount of money."
Monet isn't the only one capitalizing on the Internet's popularity to sell sex. Ed Del Carlo, an inspector with the San Francisco Police Department's vice crimes division, says prostitution is becoming rampant on the Internet.
According to Del Carlo, most of the webpages that advertise prostitution don't blatantly offer sex for money; instead, they use code words such as "escort."
For instance, Monet offers to "create an encounter that suits your needs as well as your desires," and promises her customers "erotic splendors yet unknown."
"'Release' is a big word," Del Carlo said. "'Full service' is a big word. Incalls means that you come to her place, outcalls means she comes to your place. I mean, it's pretty obvious."
Del Carlo insists that just because these women are advertising online rather than walking the streets doesn't change the fact that they are engaging in prostitution. "Whether it's on the Internet or on the street, prostitution is still illegal," he said. "It's just like if a woman is walking on Capp Street and charges a man $40 for a specific sex act."
According to Del Carlo, the San Francisco Police Department takes complaints about online prostitution seriously.
"We will set up an undercover sting operation, where we use a police officer posing as a john," he said. "He'll phone the [number listed on the] ad, speak with the woman, set up a date, and then we will go in and make an arrest."