Private eye de­fends in­tegrity of be­ing paid ‘honey trap­per’

Times Colonist - - Front Page - KATE KEL­LAND

LON­DON — When Richard Martinez goes to a night­club or bar, he of­ten goes alone.

But the 38-year-old for­mer RAF of­fi­cer wastes no time in head­ing for a tar­get — a wo­man — to flirt with and flat­ter.

Martinez will not try too hard, but will al­low him­self to be drawn into con­ver­sa­tion and, if asked, will give out his phone num­ber for a po­ten­tial fu­ture date.

Martinez is a “honey trap­per” — or as he likes to call him­self, an “in­tegrity tester” — one of a grow­ing team of private de­tec­tives who are hired by wives, hus­bands or part­ners to test the loy­alty of their loved ones.

“It’s grow­ing all the time,” he says of his busi­ness, the Ex­pe­dite De­tec­tive Agency (www.ex-da.com), which charges 300 pounds ($588) for an in­tegrity test on a po­ten­tial cheat.

Martinez re­futes ac­cu­sa­tions of mar­riage-wreck­ing, ar­gu­ing that his cus­tomers come to him when they are al­ready con­cerned about their part­ner’s fi­delity or when ru­mours have led them to sus­pect an af­fair. But he ad­mits around 80 per cent of tar­gets fail the test and turn out to be ready and will­ing to cheat on a part­ner.

Martinez and his col­leagues — he has a team of male and fe­male trap­pers, some more, some less at­trac­tive — record the whole “hit” on au­dio and video, so that the cus­tomer can see for them­selves how the evening de­vel­ops.

And Martinez has “rules of en­gage­ment:” The tar­get must not be drunk, there must be no touch­ing, and the rel­a­tive at­trac­tive­ness of the trap­per to the tar­get must be equal.

“It’s got to be a fair test,” he ex­plains. “So we make sure that we don’t set a very at­trac­tive honey trap­per on a not so at­trac­tive tar­get, and vice versa.”

“The cus­tomer needs a fair an­swer to the ques­tion of whether their hus­band or girl­friend is loyal.”

Martinez says that while many of his cus­tomers may end their re­la­tion­ships, other use the honey trap to con­front un­faith­ful lovers and ap­peal to them to change their ways.

“So we can also act as a de­ter­rent,” he says. “The cus­tomer can say to their part­ner: ‘I caught you this time and I want you to change’ and they can warn that they will use the honey trap ser­vice in the fu­ture to test them again.”

He shrugs off crit­i­cism that he is fos­ter­ing mis­trust, and in­sists he is meet­ing a real need among Bri­tish cou­ples. But while Martinez is unashamed about what he does, other such de­tec­tive agen­cies are more ret­i­cent.

At UK Honey Traps, a ser­vice based in Worces­ter­shire in the heart of Eng­land and of­fer­ing trap­pers across the coun­try, they are not keen to talk.

“We don’t talk to jour­nal­ists,” a spokesman there told Reuters by tele­phone. “It wouldn’t help our busi­ness.”

They are, how­ever, look­ing for new re­cruits.

Un­der the va­can­cies sec­tion of their web­site, the de­tec­tive ser­vice is on the look-out for “con­fi­dent, bub­bly, out­go­ing men and women with an abil­ity to think on their feet.”

Be­com­ing a honey trap­per de­mands re­li­a­bil­ity, hon­esty and ac­cu­racy, it says, and be­cause most of the trap­ping takes place out­side of­fice hours, it can of­fer “an ideal sec­ond ca­reer.”

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