Online Prostitution and Trafficking

Posted on October 2, 2014, in Internet, Prostitution, Research, Sex Trafficking

Publication Information

Title: Online Prostitution and Trafficking
Publication: Albany Law Review, Vol. 77.3
Author: Melissa Farley, Kenneth Franzblau, and M. Alexis Kennedy
Date: 10/02/2014

The use of Internet technologies to traffic women and children to prostitution will be described in this article. We will summarize the history of online trafficking and the remarkably effective use of the Internet for advertising prostitution locally, regionally, and internationally beginning with the development of social networking sites, discussion forums, message boards and online chats. Examples of sex buyers’, pimps’, and traffickers’ use of the Internet and online classified advertising sites will be provided.

We will also summarize the empirical evidence for the psychological and physical harms of trafficking for prostitution and will discuss the risks of compartmentalizing arms of the sex trafficking industry that are in fact elements of multinational, constantly expanding, businesses. False distinctions have been erected between online and offline prostitution, child and adult prostitution, indoor and outdoor prostitution, pornography and prostitution, legal and illegal prostitution, and prostitution and trafficking.

We will discuss what is known about the involvement of organized crime in online trafficking, and summarize several successful cases brought against online traffickers. We describe public campaigns and educational boycotts against online traffickers and the development of online alternatives to the sex trafficking industry.


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