23 October 2016
Law enforcement officers take evidence from the Manhattan offices of in New York. Photo: Reuters
Law enforcement officers take evidence from the Manhattan offices of in New York. Photo: Reuters

New York online male escort service busted

US authorities have arrested the chief executive of an online male escort service for promoting prostitution.

Also held were six employees of which prosecutors say is the largest online male escort service.

Cheif executive Jeffrey Hurant and the employees were charged in a criminal complaint in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Reuters is reporting that authorities are moving to seize bank accounts holding US$1.4 million and the website’s domain name.

US Homeland Security Department agents and the New York police hauled computers and boxes labeled “evidence” out of’s Manhattan offices., which describes itself as the “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur”, has operated since 1996 and features more than 10,500 men in 2,100 cities worldwide.

The website took its name from a British slang term for a male prostitute and marketed itself to gay men.

It operated quite publicly, even hosting an annual escorts awards show called the Hookies.

In a 2008 video interview quoted in the complaint, Hurant, who also went by Jeffrey Davids — and who tweeted under @thecyberpimp — said he launched because he felt “escorts were a disenfranchised group”.

While had disclaimers saying its advertisements for escorts were for companionship and not sexual services, authorities said it was intended primarily to advertise prostitution.

Escorts were charged at least US$59.95 per month and up to several hundred dollars to advertise on the website, enabling to draw 500,000 unique visitors daily and generate more than US$10 million from 2010 to 2015, prosecutors said.

“As alleged, attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” Brooklyn acting US Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement.

Charles Hochbaum, Hurant’s lawyer, denied his client promoted prostitution and said the case raised free speech issues.

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