Wausau Area Considers Licensing Adult Escorts

Proposal Comes In Response To Prostitutes Openly Advertising Services Online

Photo: JJ

Wausau and the nearby communities of Weston and Rothschild are all considering ordinances that would force adult escorts to obtain licenses.

Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel says the communities are cracking down because local prostitutes have been openly soliciting business on the Internet.

“There were upwards of 25 to 30 different advertisements of ladies, scantily clad, and advertising services,” said Hardel.

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Hardel says detectives recently arrested six men after they responded to similar online ads in a sting operation.

“We’ve targeted both the prostitutes themselves and then we’ve also targeted what we call the “johns” – setting up a sting where we’re advertising sexual services, and then we see who responds to that,” said Hardel.

Hardel says it’s tough to prove prostitution in court, and that it would be much easier to convict an adult escort who advertises online without a license.

“The threshold of meeting the elements of the prostitution crime is pretty involved,” said Hardel. “The ordinance of having a licensed service does not meet that same threshold. If you are advertising your escort services, you have to be registered or it’s a violation.”

Under the proposed ordinances, adult escorts would be fingerprinted and have to pass a background check before they could get a municipal license. Fines for violations could run as high as $5,000.