The Rise of Online Prostitution
Internet prostitution has become incredibly popular due to new technologies and social media. Aside from webcams and live sex streams, the web also contains thousands of listing sites, online escort services, independent websites, adds on message boards or social platforms, and even review sites.
While webcam sex is generally legal in many countries, online prostitution is causing worldwide sex exploitation and is still prohibited. The evolution of social media and web prostitution has placed sex ads and services on the front pages of even some of the biggest websites like Craigslist and Facebook. Moreover, pimps and employers are utilizing the advantages of the internet to stay anonymous and avoid detection while protecting their employees.
But how exactly did prostitution become an online business? What are its risks, and how does it happen? This article will explore the rise of online prostitution and look into how the internet has become the number-one tool for sex services in the 21st century.
The Start of Online Prostitution
Before the 2000s, organized prostitution that occurred off-street was advertised in various forms of printed media. Pimps would market their services in smaller magazines, weekly ad publications, and even on newsstands. These adds were subtle and did not reveal much, often using code words or phrases that would hint at prostitution services.
Even earlier, in the 1900s, bigger agencies disguised their offerings as modeling work or acting, as well as massage and health services while placing ads. But by 2000, the web had grown. The internet had become a part of everyday use, and the sex industry found a way to exploit it.
Today, the internet is a powerful marketing tool for all sorts of black market services, including prostitution. Smartphones and tablets have made it easier for anyone to have access to all types of ads and all kinds of sex work. Additionally, internet law and its enforcement is still developing, which is why it is challenging to find and suppress existing sex services. As mentioned earlier, the web has also made it easier for pimps to conceal their tracks and for freelance workers to remain anonymous. That also means that arrests, assaults, and any client-customer issues are easier to avoid.
How Online Prostitution Happens
As stated earlier, there are many forms of online sex services. The most common today are listing sites as well as prostitution via social media.
Prostitute Listing Sites
Online prostitution is thriving worldwide, and it is present primarily through listing sites. These websites allow freelance prostitutes or agencies to publish ads for their services of selling sex online.
In most cases, the ads contain phone numbers and can be viewed for free. Others could charge fees for website access or additional features. Also, clients can rate and review their experience on these platforms.
What’s more, anyone can access dedicated review websites like The Erotic Review. These sites offer individual feedback and ratings on services and workers. Moreover, ads for sex workers can also appear on forums or other platforms. In countries where the activity is legal, clients can simply find prostitutes through various apps. In Berlin, Germany, for instance, there’s an app called Peppr. It allows users to locate the closest hooker. They can then view their photos, fees, as well as details about their physical attributes.
In a way, this type of online prostitution has made the industry much safer. The customer and provider can arrange deals for mutual satisfaction and safety. Plus, escorts and prostitutes can find safe work much easier as compared to the pre-internet era. It’s easy to spot violent or dangerous clients and share that information with other workers. Furthermore, the regular feedback allows the workers to tailor their services as well as their prices.
In recent years, social media has taken over the online prostitution industry. All types and forms of prostitution work are hidden on these platforms. That includes Tinder, Facebook, Bumble, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Pimps can recruit young influencers and attractive women via these platforms and then prostitute them to clients in Airbnb apartments. Researchers and officials have managed to find various trends in over 35 different countries.
In mild cases, women and men can use social media for advertising and selling their nude photos or explicit videos. Others can sell worn panties, sex toys, clothes, or other personal possessions that have been used during sex. The transactions for items, videos, and sex services can vary depending on the platform. In most cases, clients and workers avoid traceable services like PayPal or credit cards. Prepaid gift cards and cash transfers are more common.
In more extreme cases, social media prostitution can happen on an industrial scale. Pimps can share the services of their hookers through groups and pages on social sites. Facebook or Whatsapp groups allow clients to connect to prostitutes instantaneously and schedule all sorts of sex sessions. Moreover, tech-savvy prostitutes and pimps use special phrases, emojis, and subtle photos to promote their services. On Instagram, young girls can pose as influencers with huge followings and sponsorships to hide a darker truth.
In reality, many Insta-models are prostitutes in disguise. That has been discovered via various personal interviews and stories shared in the media. In most cases, traveling, dining, and sex are part of the deal, and one meeting can cost over $15,000. Luckily, sites like Tag The Sponsor have been established to expose various sex workers who exploit the benefits of social media.
How Much Do Online Prostitutes Earn?
Nearly any type of sex service is possible via online prostitution, and it’s impossible to determine an approximate sum. Prostitutes can earn their income from various sources too, even without offering sex.
Some can earn thousands from sugar daddies and sponsors. Others with large online followings can get money or expensive items from fans. Additionally, many prostitutes practice various financial domination fetishes to get money from their admirers. Some studies from the United Kingdom have indicated that prostitutes earned an average of approximately £30,000 ($35,000) per year.
Of course, since most transactions are undocumented and kept secret, there is no true way to know. Some estimates say that the rates are between $2,000 to $10,000 per encounter for social media prostitutes in locations like Bali or Dubai. However, those rates can go much higher for top Insta-models and similar.
The Risk of Human Trafficking via Online Prostitution
Human sex trafficking and related crimes have long been linked to commercial prostitution. Online, the dangers are even worse due to the nature of the internet. In fact, trafficking has changed dramatically. In the last decade, listing sites like Backpage have been linked to child prostitution worldwide.
Online ads and social media posts can be used to mislead and lure adults and underage persons into prostitution work. In most cases, pimps could offer promises of simple work or employment that involves a lot of money. Individuals could fall for those ads after seeing them in social media groups. Then, the pimps can lure them in and prostitute them.
The Challenge of Preventing Online Prostitution
So why is online prostitution still happening, and how can so many illegal activities be concealed in plain sight?
At the moment, legal experts claim that the regulation of web-based prostitution contains a lot of loopholes. For instance, real-life locations like brothels can easily be discovered and shut down by the law. However, online agencies have succeeded in dodging it in several ways.
Most pimps and websites could operate offshore. As opposed to regular brothels, those websites cannot be prosecuted. Moreover, private communication from freelance prostitutes can be hard to track down. The sheer size of it can place the law in an arduous position. Even if the authorities have managed to shut down some of the biggest listing websites and platforms, social media prostitution poses an incredibly difficult challenge.
Before We Part Ways
Online prostitution is a dangerous and highly illegal business. If you’re not in a country that allows it by law, it’s recommended that you avoid any type of commercial sex. Internet prostitution is hiding in plain view, and it conceals a lot of significant problems, including human trafficking and exploitation. To conclude, try to raise awareness about this issue and share the information with others who aren’t familiar with online prostitution!