Who profits from prostitution?
There are five classifieds sites in the United States allowing prostitution advertisements. They set a record with a total combined revenue of $3.3 million during January. The revenue progressed by 1.4 percent from December last year, and 3.3 percent from January 2011.
About 70 percent of the revenue on the classified advertising belongs to backpage.com with at least $2.6 million generated from the advertisements for prostitution and body rubs in 23 U.S. cities: ” prostitution advertising in 23 U.S. cities has generated at least $36.3 million, the AIM Group estimates. More than two-thirds of that amount, $25.4 million, was generated by Backpage.com, a general classifieds site owned by Village Voice Media.”
The featured picture is a public service ad by the Polaris Project and the Rebecca Project for Human rights. It is targeting Backpage.com and Village Voice Media, who owns the general classified ads website.
The adult services section on Backpage.com contains ads for prostitution, body rubs, massages, escort, and other sexual services for sale. There is also a separate section for recruiting sex workers for various careers, jobs, and positions. There are also ads for services to sex workers and the trade. Law enforcement agencies and non-profit groups claim that Backpage.com is the number one website promotiong underage sex slavery and sex trafficking. Underage victims have been making accusations their services for prostitution were advertised on Backpage.com by their controllers, pimps, kidnappers, etc.
Last month a 15-year-old girl claimed she was kidnapped, gang raped and drugged through ads on Backpage.com. Last year another 15-year-old girl claimed her services were sold through Backpage.com. One fifteen-year old sex trafficking victim sued Village Voice Media in federal court in 2010 over claims her services were sold through Backpage.com. That case was dismissed due legal technicalities, especially immunity given to Internet sites under the Community Decency Act.