According to legal experts, the laws that have been regulating prostitution have left giant loopholes when it comes to online prostitution. So although real-life brothels can still be policed with those old laws, brothels that originate and operate over the internet have managed to escape the law. Ruh roh.
The discussion of these prostitution laws started when a New Mexico court ruled that a retired professor and former college administrator, who were accused of starting a multistate, online prostitution ring, did not start a "house of prostitution" even though the two men used the website to promote its prostitutes. According to legal experts, these laws screw over the prosecution of online brothels because the authorities can't prosecute them as brothels if they're websites, and if they're websites they can be defended as free speech. Scott Cunningham, a Baylor University professor, told the Huffington Post:
"Sometimes states' laws are too specific and were written years ago, long before the Internet. That's why we are seeing some successful challenges to laws when websites are involved."
It's a messy, sticky situation that has allowed online pimps to continue to do their business. [Huffington Post]