One of the most visited websites for escort service ads, Backpage.com, has been shut down last week by U.S. government. This has created some panic among service providers who have relied on this website to run their business. There are many businesses who are using online ads in websites like Backpage and Craigslist for advertising. They are reliable places for advertising and have brought a lot of business, so they’ve invested a lot of cash into their business. This is often the main source of income for many of these businesses and now they are really scrambling to make ends meet.
Backpage, classified website where users would advertise many adult entertainment, escort services and even adult accommodations, was closed down on Friday as part of FBI investigation. There has been a lot of controversy about adult section of the website. Several employees are being investigated over allegations it was facilitating illegal trafficking.
There is now cause of fear for service providers since they will need to advertise their services elsewhere. Worse, they may be pushed to find their clients on streets. Many of them fear working on the streets or don’t even know how working outside works. There is the fear that while this has reduced some of the problems related to advertising in Backpage, it may be putting existing providers at risk.
Monica Forrester, who works for Maggie’s Toronto, claims that this shutting down the website is not going to stop sex work. It will only change the sex work community into another venue to work.
According to an investigation done in 2015, Backpage was one of the most used websites that was facilitating sex trafficking. From a list of reports tracked from 2013 to 2015 all of the cases were advertised in Backpage.