The Department of Homeland Security reportedly set up an undercover Web site designed to catch men who want to have sex with underage girls. But the site was apparently so sleazy, its web hosting company shut it down, not knowing it was a government sting operation.
According to a report on The Smoking Gun, DHS first registered "Precious Treasure Holiday Company" in February 2010. It promised to arrange trips from the U.S. to Canada, where young girls were said to be waiting for the so called "sex tourists."
Everything about the site was designed to attract pedophiles. The Smoking Gun writes:
The site’s front page (above) carried three symbols that an FBI intelligence bulletin has identified as being used by pedophiles. Additionally, the site’s acronym, PTHC, is an allusion to “preteen hardcore” pornography. The site’s carefully misspelled motto--“We Help Make Your Fantasy’s Come True!”--also does little to mask its illicit intentions.
But perhaps the site was too good. The web hosting company removed it a few weeks ago, apparently in response to a complaint about its content. Visitors are now greeted with the message: “This site has been suspended.”
Jason Crawford, an account executive with the hosting firm, told The Smoking Gun that following a site’s suspension an internal investigation is launched. Upon the review’s completion, a site is either reinstated or terminated. Crawford added that if a site is found to contain illicit material like child pornography, the FBI is contacted. He appeared not to know the site was a government operation.
The site has led to at least one felony conviction -- a man was sentenced recently to 20 years in prison. Another man is currently under indictment for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with an eight year old girl.