Greetings from The Slave Detective,
Evidence of human trafficking through ads posted on a popular adult entertainment website is more prevalent than first thought, according to a new study published by Arizona State University.
“One-Day Trafficking Snapshot of an Internet Service Provider,” a study conducted this month by a team of researchers from ASU’s School of Social Work, found that nearly 60 percent of the ads on Backpage.com Adult Entertainment Services were for selling sex/prostitution. Of those ads more than 20 percent were identified by the researchers to feature potential adult and minor trafficking victims.
The purpose of the study, according to its authors, was to better understand the scope of the online sex trafficking and prostitution enterprise in five major U.S. cities and to further develop a Trafficking Identification Matrix to accurately and systematically identify the characteristics and content typical of ads involving possible trafficking victims.
The study, led by Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, an associate professor with the School of Social Work within ASU’s College of Public Programs, provides a one-day snapshot of sex ads posted during a 12-hour period on Nov. 1 in five markets: Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and San Diego.
The Phoenix Police Department, Vice Enforcement Unit and the Minneapolis Police Department, Criminal Investigations Unit teamed up to develop a set of matrices that are useful in identifying possible trafficking victims and determinants of minor sex trafficking victims. “The scope of the prostitution ads examined through the study was overwhelming,” Roe-Sepowitz said.
The study initially was designed to analyze 24 hours of online adult entertainment ads but due to the high volume and reporting requirements of ads collected and found to be consistent with potential sex trafficked adults and minors, the review period was reduced to 12 hours.
A total of 1,332 ads from the five cities were collected and analyzed by a 12-member research team guided by Roe-Sepowitz and Lieutenant James Gallagher, Phoenix Police Department, Vice Enforcement Unit; Lauren Martin, Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), University of Minnesota;
I have spoken before how CCAT were successful evidencing the ‘back page’ adverts in local newspapers for sexual services. On the back of this we began targeting certain web pages.
I’m not going to mention the page because I don’t want to give them some of my blog space as an advert!
What I will say is there are pages that you can put in your postcode/zip code and you can see how many ‘brothels’ are within five miles of you. You would be amazed and all of them offering sexual services.
My role here though is not to comment on or target brothels. I want to attempt to stop human trafficking and in this instance, for sexual exploitation.
I firmly believe brothels are more than breeding grounds for sex traffickers. Cut out their avenues to make money and I’m sure reducing demand will help.