The Marketing of Commercial Sex Services:
How It Is Done and How It Is Changing
The Internet has spawned thousands of websites that promote commercial sex, escort services, erotic pornography and steamy chat lines. One of the most infamous of these is Backpage.com.
In Riverside County, California alone there are an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 ads on Backpage per year that offer a connection for hooking up. And that is just for ”Women Dating Men,” and does not include the many other categories such as Gay and Transgender hookups.
Backpage has long been a target of activists, NGO’s, Law Enforcement and Congress. Backpage is, in fact, the “electronic auctioning of people’s sexual services,” while veiling themselves as only being in the advertising business. They insist that they are not responsible for what people sell once they advertise on their site.
Millions of dollars have been spent trying to put Backpage out of business. Organizations launched complaints resulting in Backpage no longer able to accept credit cards. However, with credit cards, law enforcement could at least get a search warrant and trace the money. Now sex trafficking investigations have become harder as Backpage began using Bitcoin, which can be anonymous and non-traceable.
Technology companies spent millions developing algorithms to track keywords and emojis on the Backpage ads to help identify potential victims of sex trafficking (Thank You, Thorn). BUT, Backpage CHANGED again. Now they only offer phone numbers on the ads. Yes, just like the White Pages… So what is wrong with THAT?
Join us Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 7a.m. PST on VOICE AMERICA – Variety Channel as we take an in-depth look at how the online marketing of commercial sex is changing.
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