US Marine in AfghanistanThe US Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is targeting the use of online classifieds such as Craigslist for sexual hookups by US Marines serving in Afghanistan, the majority of which are men seeking men.

While a spokesperson has said soliciting for sex via sites like Craigslist is not a chargeable offence, the distribution of “pornographic” images on such sites is prohibited. American military commanders in Afghanistan have also issued a general prohibition on sexual encounters between unwed people.

The listings at the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist Baghdad — likely still used as a leftover from the Iraq War — are often accompanied by explicit images, reportedly in breach of regulations.

Reports have emerged of undercover stings by NCIS agents responding to the solicitations. A lance corporal targeted by such a sting spoke anonymously to the Marine Corps Times about his arrest:

“I made the post on Craigslist, and an undercover member of NCIS responded to it. He refused to send a picture, saying he wanted to be discreet. But he sent me a place and time to meet him,” he said.

“As we were approaching a vehicle, a bunch of people got out, surrounded us, drew pistols and told me to get on the ground.”

The lance corporal received a number of charges including “pandering and prostitution” and was successfully prosecuted, receiving a demotion, extra duties and docked pay.

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