Special Operations Unit agents busted four women for prostitution at area hotels Friday after conducting an investigation into the personal ad website backpage.com, a Columbus Police Department official said Monday.
The website, which is similar to Craigslist.com, provides a space for personal ads which range in subject from selling used goods to dating. Agents investigated the four women arrested after scouring the "Escort" section.
Capt. Gil Slouchick said police arrested the women at undisclosed locations after at least one of the suspects offered a massage and sexual acts in exchange for money to an undercover officer.
During the raid, agents charged Jvonta Rorie with prostitution and failure to procure a practitioners certificate for offering a massage. The 21-year-old transgender woman is from Charlotte, N.C., Slouchick said.
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Police also charged 27-year-old Jessica McCune, of Columbus, 22-year-old Salethia Wilson, of Phenix City, and 23-year-old Ashley Betts, of Columbus, with prostitution. Wilson faced an additional charge of possession of marijuana.
No significant amount of money was found during the investigation.
All four women received preliminary hearings in Recorders Court Saturday, Slouchick said.