Meanwhile, customers reduced their risk by posting detailed reviews on sites like the Erotic Review. This mutual screening made sex worker safer.
More money, independence, and safety attracted more sex workers into the market. Yet even as supply and transparency increased, the price for sex also increased. This is because more high-end escorts entered the market, and escorts use the websites to compare pricing information. The sites were able to host ads for illegal sex work because Section of the Communications Decency Act does not hold them accountable for the free speech of their users.
The purpose of the bill was to reduce sex trafficking following a two-year Senate investigation into Backpage. The investigation found BackPage knowingly aided sex trafficking of women and girls.
Last week, the Justice Department announced seven people were indicted on 93 counts related to facilitating prostitution and money laundering. The indictment highlighted several incidents of knowingly advertising minors on the site. Sex-trafficking is small share of the market, and not all websites are Backpage. The language of the law targets any website that advertises sex, even between consenting adults. In response to the new law, The Erotic Review shut down its US website, Craigslist Personals is no more, Backpage is gone, and the future of similar sites remains uncertain.
The new law will probably shrink the size of the sex market, but will not eliminate it. No matter how most people feel about sex work, the market for it will never go away. For willing sex workers, the new rules remove a community that helped make their work safer. Glenn Spence, a female sex worker, told New York Magazine:. The only thing they can rely on is shared community information. The new law may not even help victims of trafficking. Sites like Eros verified the identities of sex workers to confirm they were willing adults.
Many sites claim they work with law enforcement to identify victims of trafficking. This may come back to haunt Eros users. Senate is set to hold the Backpage site in contempt, the first Senate action of its kind in 20 years, according to Politico. Of course, not all prostitution constitutes human trafficking. Many sex workers choose their profession. Still, police are tracking the instances of ads either way.
Austin police have noted a steep rise in human trafficking in recent years, telling local news site KVUE. A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found a strong link between major events, like the Super Bowl, and increases in human trafficking advertisements all around the country.
The study PDF did not definitely correlate a link between the increase in ads and actual human trafficking, however. Earlier this year, however, police in Houston used Backpage, and to a lesser-extent Craigslist, to set up a series of sting operations that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people involved in a prostitution ring.
Backpage is hardly new to controversy. And in , 49 state attorneys general wrote an open letter to the company castigating it for publicly saying it is not responsible for ads posted by its users and that it was doing all it could to keep illegal activity off the site. Jefferson added that many of the hotels here in the Austin capital, from high-end establishments like the W to lower-end operations like Motel 6, were being used for these liaisons, but hotel management may well not be aware of the activity.
Backpage did not respond to Fast Company requests for comment made via an email address meant for questions related to abuse of the site and through a customer service voicemail.
Backpage does not provide any corporate contact information. Backpage was formerly owned by the Phoenix-based newspaper publishing company New Times. In , according to the Dallas Business Journal , it was sold to an unnamed Dutch company.
The site still seems to operate out of Dallas. Jefferson said that many teens who solicit paid sex on the site do so using language filled with special characters meant to mask things like addresses that are needed to arrange meetups. Many of them will also use burner phones to avoid detection. For example, one ad reads:...
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SEX DATE APPS ESCORT & BABES16 Aug As online prostitution becomes increasingly common, Powell does her own detective work on Backpage, searching the ads for minors. 10 Apr On Friday, the Department of Justice seized dapartner.eu, the . I started my own business about two months ago, the Bomb Agency, and I. 14 Apr Hold the dapartner.eu Before, sex work mostly consisted of street walkers, often controlled by pimps, and higher-end escorts who The investigation found BackPage knowingly aided sex trafficking of women and girls.
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|Escort employment back page girls||Tennessee, Nashville Division 27 March I have a husband. New clients, however, have not caught up. More money, independence, and safety attracted more sex workers into the market. They also contend that the prompt and complete production of this information results in more convictions for illegal activities and that shutting down the adult section of Backpage will simply drive the traffickers to other places on the internet that will be less forthcoming about crucial information for law enforcement. Inthe Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three girls who claimed they were sold as prostitutes on the sites. Retrieved 18 May|
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