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Amazon and Microsoft Directors Charged in Prostitution Sting (kiro7.com) 311

An anonymous reader writes: A director from Microsoft and a former Amazon director have been charged with promoting prostitution after an investigation into Seattle-area sex trafficking, according to a local news report. Investigators say the director of worldwide health for Microsoft submitted over 70 reviews of prostitutes that he had allegedly hired since April 2012, according to the report, while the director of software development at Amazon, who worked on Fire TV, "allegedly hired prostitutes at least 29 times through The Review Board and TheLeague.Net, according to court documents." Both men have pleaded not guilty and are free on $75,000 bail, part of a group of 19 people now facing criminal charges. "These defendants, we allege, were absolutely devoted to the commercial sexual exploitation of vulnerable, powerless immigrant women," King County Prosecutors said in January, adding that the women, who were forced into prostitution to pay off debts to organized crime bosses in Asia, are not being charged.
Last January a Seattle newspaper reported that one alleged brothel owner "previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized."
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Amazon and Microsoft Directors Charged in Prostitution Sting

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  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:37PM (#52113863)
    Everyone knows Amazon and Microsoft are in bed together to screw over consumers.
  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:47PM (#52113887) Journal

    It sounds like these guys committed "patronizing a prostitute", which is a misdemeanor:
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/defa... [wa.gov]

    They've been charged with "promoting prostitution"( being a pimp), which a felony:
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/defa... [wa.gov]

    • by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:56PM (#52113919)

      Prosecutorial overreach. The prosecutor will probably be running for office soon and is trying to make a name for himself/herself.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Neither M$ nor Amazon can tolerate that sort of bad advertising, they'll do an internal review, find out whether it extended further and likely hand them over. Simply not worth it unless they are major investors and in that case they have the wealth to defend themselves. Advertising is extraordinarily expensive, in fact it costs billions now, so how expensive would the public relations exercise of being a leading corporate citizen by handing over corrupt executives and protecting the honour of the company

        • by bjwest ( 14070 )

          ...Advertising is extraordinarily expensive, ...

          Advertising expenses are tax deductible, so we pretty much pay for our own disinformation and to be lied to and fooled into buying crap we don't need.

          • Tax deductible is a misnomer. It is true that advertising is an expense that is removed from the gross before the tax rate is applied but it does not create a dollar for dollar wash. It is still a losing proposition.

            Lets assume a 10% tax rate for simplicity. For every $100 dollars of profit you would owe $10 in taxes. So you spend $90 that would otherwise be pocketed in order to save that $10. This is also why you cannot buy two of something that is half off and end up getting it for free. Of course it g

        • 70 visits to prostitutes since 2012 is less than twice a month. If you think that that frequency of sex is excessive (TFA didn't state if that guy is in a sexual relationship, so could be the only times he has sex) and equates to being "lead[sic] by their genitals" then you're a hypocritical prude.

        • One guy is already ex-Amazon, the MS guy could be: 1) using 79 different service providers for himself, 2) just making BS up as a favor to the people running the business, or, most likely in my opinion, 3) providing perks to visiting business partners.

          Only in case 1) would I see him being considered a John, case 2 and especially 3 puts him in the pimp role.

          And, in case 3, MS would be seeking business partners who are led by their genitals- which would put MS in a more advantageous position than a "clean" bu

    • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:58PM (#52113933)
      Apparently they posted reviews of some of the prostitutes online which is technically promoting.
      • That's kind of idiotic. That's like saying that 'My dealer sells some great weed' is the same as dealing.

      • by Snufu ( 1049644 )

        "posted reviews of some of the prostitutes online which is technically promoting."

        We move for acquittal on the grounds that everyone knows Amazon reviews are fake.

    • It's a crackdown on the publication of reviews of misdemeanor activity - you know: free speech. Sure, you're free to speak, but if you speak about doing illegal things, that's a problem.

  • Today I learned the term "grows" is a plural nown.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:52PM (#52113905)

    Is by the prosecutor and the police. In countries where prostitution is legal, women selecting this as their choice of work of their own free will are the norm and exceptions are so rare that they make the papers. Also, "pimps" basically do not exist. Hence what is going on here is a deranged war on women that find selling sex for money gives them a sound economic basis and on men that are willing to buy that service. All the "trafficking" nonsense and "helpless" bullshit is just the same vile lies used to justify locking up as many people as possible (and most certainly those "rescued" face the same fate and will have the money they earned stolen in addition) over what in any sane country is a matter of a service rendered between consenting adults. The very kind of language used by the "authorities" already shows what this really is.

    • The other countries also have legal pot

    • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:59PM (#52113935) Homepage

      The human trafficking is quite real and large scale. While it's enabled by anti-prostitution laws which make it easier to hide sex slavery, that doesn't make the exploitation any less reprehensible, nor does it mean that the Johns have no moral responsibility for it. The law should be changed to fight trafficking, but until then these guys are despicable because they quite likely realize what's going on.

      • by dumky2 ( 2610695 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:15PM (#52113991)
        Yes. Unfortunately, most of the recent bills passed to fight actual slavery (including sex slavery) have been used to fight sex work instead.
        With legalized prostitution, it is much easier to help actual trafficking victims escape. This is the real harm of conflating trafficking/slavery with sex work.

        As this article titles: The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs. And the results will be just as disastrous, for "perpetrators" and "victims" alike.
        http://reason.com/archives/201... [reason.com]
        • That's because it's always easier to go after the low hanging fruit. You just need one simple sting operation to catch tens of customers and prostitutes. Rolling up an Asian sex trafficking network takes way more research and women willing to testify. These women probably have family in their home country that the sex traffickers (which are probably involved in local maffia as well) can use as leverage. So it's an easy choice between putting 10 local cops on the street for a sting operation, getting same da
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 15, 2016 @12:23AM (#52114169)
        If prostitution was legal, then human trafficking drops to zero (or so close that it's not really measureable). So as pointed out, it's the government that makes trafficking happen. Since NZ legalized prostitution, there have been no cases of human trafficking. The black market only exists because the government requires it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So you read the part about these being trafficked women, right? They'll have to provide the evidence about that in court to hold-up these charges as they are. Whether or not you like it, a LOT of "chose this career" women are actually forced into it. A TON of the women in the US that do this for a career are started involuntarily, very young, and find themselves with no options later (no education, training, or normal socialization). It's no secret that Asia has, however, immense problems like this: go to a

      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:39PM (#52114059)

        Where I live, prostitution is legal. And, until, a few years ago, it was legal at 16. You know what brothel-owners _and_ customers though about 16 year olds working as prostitutes? To young, too inexperienced, too self-centered, and generally unfit for the job. They did not want them. Hence there were only very rare instances of 16 year olds trying it in the first place. The whole thing about "most starting at a very young age" is a blatant lie, as there is no demand. The actual average age of starting is around 21 in the US and ones starting below 18 are very, very rare. Same with "women being forced into it". This works so badly that even the Italian Mafia has stopped doing it ages ago. The ones forced into it are not doing a good job (obviously) and hence fetch prices so low the whole thing is more hassle than it is worth. In addition, the person reporting a prostitute forced into it to the police is usually her first or second customer, because men are not total scum and notice when something is amiss.

        The things you apparently believe are the outgrow of perverted and deranged fantasies, not any accurate description of actual reality.

        • That's a very different situation, though.

          In the U.S., where it's illegal in most states, women (including the young ones) often don't do it just for the money. Because it's illegal.

          Instead, many of them get into the (illegal) business in order to support drug habits, or other such things.

          In any case, personally I think it should be legalized. Making it a crime just makes everything surrounding it worse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SumDog ( 466607 )

      New Zealand, most of Australia and large segments of Europe all have legal sex work. Even in places like Belgium where it is technically illegal, it's tolerated with famous red light districts like the one in Antwerp.

      The only thing sad about this situation, is that it's still illegal in America (except for parts of Nevada)

    • There's no doubt in my mind that prostitution should be legalized, but this incident specifically involves white slavery and human trafficking, and it's reasonable for prosecutors to attack it, just as it's entirely legitimate for a prosecutor to send someone to prison for selling rat poison laced heroin, even though unsafe heroin is pretty much entirely the result of legislators making regulated, safe, heroin illegal.

    • Having spent some time living in Thailand, I can tell you that things are much more complicated than your assumption. Girls are sold to brothels by parents, and the girls feel some weird family commitment to send money back home! Societally, the whole system is so fsckd up that you actually see more anti sex trafficking ads in the us than Bangkok!

      I'm no Puritan, but things are getting pretty messed up, and something needs to be done to stop it.

  • by Kwyj1b0 ( 2757125 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @10:54PM (#52113913)

    To be fair, the Amazon employee was a Prime Now customer and had gotten so used to getting what he wanted in two hours that pumping drinks in to a girl all night in a bar (let alone the traditional three-dates before sex route) was just too damn slow.

  • The companies are most likely encouraging their employees to use prostitutes, due to the lack of single women in the Seattle area. Given that Vancouver is ~3 hours' drive from Seattle, it might make more sense to encourage them to take a day off to go somewhere that prostitution is legal.
    If it weren't for the bad PR, they'd probably just directly lobby for prostitution to be regulated and legalized in WA. Given the souring economy (and the momentum of the marijuana legalization effort), this is likely to oc

  • Eeh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:07PM (#52113967) Homepage Journal
    What's the use of having all the money in the world if you can't use it to purchase some world class vagina every once in a while?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by swb ( 14022 )

      You don't pay for the vagina, you pay for them to go away after.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      What's the use of having all the money in the world if you can't use it to purchase some world class vagina every once in a while?

      They can. It's legal in Nevada, parts of Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, ...

      Those guys almost certainly could afford the plane tickets.

      • It's not legal in France any more, exactly. They criminalised paying for sex just this year. The prostitution itsself doesn't isn't illegal for the prostitute, just the customer, but there are also a lot of prostitution-related prohibited acts that effectively keep prostitutes underground anyway - it's illegal for them to ask for money, to advertise as a prostitute or to operate any premises for the purpose of prostitution. It's also illegal for to receive payment from a prostitute in relation to their serv

        • "brothel owners quickly realised that they can skirt around all the expenses of labor law and employee rights like health-and-safety law, health insurance and pension contributions if they don't actually hire any prostitutes - instead the prostitutes are freelancers and pay brothels a fixed daily fee in return for being permitted to ply their trade on the premises."

          Still, when it is Uber the one doing it, it somehow becomes "new economy" and fair play.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I thought I had read of that as being called "the Swedish model" because Sweden adopted it first. It tries for the most part to make the prostitute not a criminal, but the men buying sex criminals without actually making prostitution legal.

          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            You're correct. France just adopted the swedish model recently.

            • The UK runs the same approach. It's supposed to be a shift in thinking to stop regarding prostitutes as criminals and start regarding them as victims. Well intentioned, but in practice it's still 'criminal enough' to keep the industry underground and prostitutes on the fringes. Yes, they can go to the police if they are abused... but they won't. It's bad for business if the police start investigating an incident and arresting their customers, and there's not much the police can do anyway when customers are

    • Odd statement considering that having money brings vagina to you.

  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:13PM (#52113983)

    Something not mentioned in the post. Here's a much better article: http://www.seattletimes.com/se... [seattletimes.com]

      So they arrested the clients and let the webmaster unmolested?

    • It just proves that this is all about headlines and has nothing to do with actual justice.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      charged with promoting prostitution after being infiltrated by undercover detectives

      Law enforcement: It's a tough job. But somebody has got to do it.

  • "[he] previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized." I wonder what the government could do to make him and people like him stop (or move out of) prostitution.

    • "[he] previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized." I wonder what the government could do to make him and people like him stop (or move out of) prostitution.

      It only takes one bullet, or if you're cheap, one baseball bat. Or if you're really cheap, one father of a girl who was forced into it.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr&mac,com> on Sunday May 15, 2016 @12:45AM (#52114217) Journal

    Why would anyone running a prostitution reviews site host it in the USA? Aren't there any number of countries with reasonably fast internet service where it's legal?

    -jcr

  • He wouldn't have to re-start so often if he were using a Mac.

  • one alleged brothel owner "previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized."

    So following simple logic, if you wanted get get him out of exploiting prostitution...

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday May 15, 2016 @07:05AM (#52114923)

    Why is prostitution illegal at all?

    One of the most common lines is "prostitution exploits women" -- if that's the case, then why are prostitutes arrested? Wouldn't they then be the victims? At least in the EU that seems to be emerging model, with Sweden and now France making accepting money for sex not illegal, but paying money for sex illegal. But that's very recent, and not generally reflective of long standing practices and criminal law.

    A more enduring answer seems to be that it's merely reflective of anti-sex morality, the same mindset that used to criminalize pornography, birth control and made sodomy and adultery actual crimes. Although most all of those things have mostly stopped being illegal, as society on balance has become accepting of sex as recreation -- sodomy and adultery laws have mostly been overturned or aren't enforced anymore, singles bars, Craigslist/Tinder/Grindr, etc. And also, in not the not so distant past, society was more tolerant of prostitution -- brothels operated more openly -- despite a generally stronger social prohibition on sex outside of marriage.

    I think prostitution remains illegal -- with the public justification shifting in spite of general acceptance of sex outside of wedlock -- because women don't like prostitution. Despite the general changes in attitude about sex outside of marriage, women still see sexuality as a significant bargaining chip in social relations with men. Legalized prostitution thus represents a threat to women's bargaining status in relationships.

    If men can buy sex whenever they want it for only money, women lose a significant bargaining advantage in relationships with men. Their sexuality no longer represents a scarce good or service and they can no longer structure their relationship demands around controlling access to sex. Which seems really ironic, since women often loudly decry being seen as "sex objects" and want to be valued for their intelligence or other personality traits, yet it seems as in spite of that, women continue to see their sexuality as primary tool in attracting and maintaining mail interest in relationships.

    You would think that *women* would want prostitution legal, though, because it would in theory act as a kind of filter for men they wish to engage in more substantive relationships with. It would, in theory, make the pool of men they encounter to more likely be interested in non-sexual aspects of a relationship, reducing the effort needed to filter men who falsify their intentions in order to gain sex.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15, 2016 @10:39AM (#52115643)

      I always though the same things as you, that the reason why prostitution is illegal is mostly because women do not want it to be legal (as it weakens their position withing a relationship if they control access to sex). And this seems a mostly Western phenomenon, a lot of countries around the world EXPECT men to frequent brothels to take care of their needs and not waste a young woman's time if their intentions are less than honorable.

      Also I never understood how when it comes to prostitution, it's seen as exploitation.
      Person needs money, person is willing to do some activity that somebody else values to generate income, otherwise they starve, lose their home, etc.....
      This is called working in all other industries. You think the people collecting money for picking up trash or mopping floors, or making your bead do it out of love for their job? Helllll nooooo.....you think they have other options but choose those jobs? Helll no.......and yet people are "trafficked" into richer nations to do those jobs as well....But nobody is calling them victims...in fact a lot of people see it as a positive, as them trying to better their outcome in life.

      And on a final note, a lot of the issues of criminal gangs in prostitution would disappear if it where legalized and taxed and regulated instead of trying to impose a prohibitionist policy, that has been proven time and time again to not work when there is a demand and simply just ruins lives.

  • Officer Collins: [addressing military brass] You see, a pimp's love is very different from that of a square...

  • Obviously this is a publicity grab for law enforcement. Why would you come down hard on the buyers and fail to do the same on the sellers? Funny how drug charges don't work that way at all. They murder the sellers and usually charge the buyers with minor crimes.

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