Law Enforcement in South Florida Lead Effort to Seize Independentgirls.com, an Internet Forum for Prostitution Ads Some Ads Involved Minors
U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Sheriff Gregory Tony of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) announced the Oct. 4, 2019 seizure of independentgirls.com, an Internet forum for escort services and prostitution.
The main purpose of independentgirls.com was to allow escort agencies and independent escorts to post advertisements for prostitution services and provide a forum in which potential customers of prostitution could review the prostitute and post it on the website for others to read. Independentgirls.com allowed customers paying for sex to buy upgraded user accounts where they would be able to read customer reviews of advertising prostitutes, write reviews of prostitutes that were seen by other members, private message prostitutes, and view which prostitutes were currently available. Website members with upgraded user accounts were entitled to discounted hourly rates, invitations to parties hosted by independentgirls.com, as well as message forums discussing recent law enforcement action. Some of the females advertised for escort services and prostitution were minor victims.
“Our goal, as a law enforcement community, is to ensure that websites that facilitate human trafficking and child exploitation cease to exist and that the traffickers are held accountable in a court of law for their criminal exploits,” stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “There is no lawful market for companies or individuals that profit off of illicit commercial sex and the victimization of others.”
“The FBI will not tolerate sex trafficking regardless if it is arranged in person or over the Internet,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Miami’s Field Office. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to combat those who engage in the sexual exploitation of others for profit.”
“At the center of this investigation was a website operated out of Broward County that catered to prostitution and served as a platform for human traffickers to advertise their victims for commercial sex acts,” said Sheriff Gregory Tony. “I commend BSO detectives and our federals partners who, through this significant arrest and seizure of this website, have made a large impact on the human trafficking activities in South Florida.”
In April of 2019, Neil Steven Greenberg, of Sunrise, Florida, the owner of the website independentgirls.com was arrested on a federal indictment charging him with two counts of production of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251(a) and (e) (Case No. 19cr60132). During the execution of a search warrant at Greenberg’s residence, law enforcement is alleged to have discovered videos of Greenberg engaging in illicit sex acts with two minors. The case is pending before U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II in Fort Lauderdale.
The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The effort to seize independentgirls.com was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The law enforcement agencies conducting the investigation and seizure include the FBI’s Miami Field Office, BSO, and the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jodi L. Anton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard O. Brown is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.