AUSTIN — To Internet bloggers statewide, it looked hilarious: A person claiming to be an oil field worker posted an advertisement on Craigslist seeking a “homeless girl” as a roommate. She could live rent-free, the ad said, in exchange for cooking, cleaning and “bedroom fun.”
But to investigators faced with a wave of sex trafficking, it looked more like a potential lead. Jason Lewis, a spokesman for the police department in Lubbock, said detectives are “aware of the post and have multiple investigations in progress.”
The ad could turn out to be little more than a prank. The person who placed it anonymously through an encrypted email address did not respond to interview requests.
But as Texas law enforcement agencies grapple with organized gangs operating compulsory prostitution rings with sophisticated online operations, experts say the story of the “Homeless female wanted” ad reveals the dangers of a poorly understood criminal phenomenon. Traffickers