There was a time when the body of a 20 year old lady who was heavily pregnant was found after she was strangled to death inside a hotel room in Atlanta with her feet and hands tied. Within few months on the eve of Christmas, the dead-body of a 16 year old was discovered inside a pool in southern Chicago. Apart from the gory nature of the two aforementioned incidents, another thing that connected the two cases is that both the women had advertised themselves as escorts on Backpage.
This website works in a similar manner like Craigslist where users can visit to purchase and sell anything under the sun, from furniture to cars. However, it has been a long time since the ‘Adult’ section of the site became banned and the guys hunting for their services through BackpageNY.
A red banner on Backpage’s adult listings
As per a report from Senate Investigations Subcommittee, it was earlier in 2017 that they put up a red banner on the adult listings adding the word ‘CENSORED’ and released he statement where they had completely eliminated the section due to the result of unconstitutional government censorship. However, anti-sex trafficking committees and law enforcement agents claimed recently that the escorts haven’t disappeared entirely from this web portal based in Texas. They have just moved to some new location.
Instead they have shifted from the ‘Adult’ section to the ‘Dating’ section of Backpage. In fact, now they have become extremely smart about it as they don’t use any explicit terms but rather use phrases like ‘are you looking for companionship?’ or ‘are you looking for spending some good time?’
A little bit on Backpage
It was in 2004 that Backpage was launched and soon it became the second-largest classified site after Craigslist. The sooner it gained popularity, the sooner it started being scrutinized from human trafficking and prosecuting organizations due to its controversial ‘Adult’ section. Opponents said that this section worked as an open place for prostitutes and escorts and turned the website into an official one for pimps.
Soon after, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found out that 75% of child trafficking reports which they got involved Backpage in some way. There were also reports which said that Backpage changed before publishing by removing words, images and phrases which spoke of child sex trafficking. This report came to Backpage as a bombshell and big giants like Mastercard, Visa and American Express stopped doing business with Backpage in 2015.
What does the future hold for Backpage?
The future of Backpage and the personal page for the prostitutes is pretty unclear. Craigslist was able to survive after being shut down for their adult section in 2010 by charging the users for posting apartment vacancies and jobs. But since 90% of the profits of Backpage are believed to come from adult section, they too have started charging $1 for posting ads.
Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession and no matter how much the lawmakers attempt to put a halt to this, they will find some new way to continue their jobs.