twitter sex trafficking
March 11, 2019

Twitter Has A Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Problem

As our society has increasingly entered the digital age, so have sex traffickers and pimps.

It is an accepted fact, supported by survivors of sex trafficking, that online posts with pornographic pictures and videos are used to advertise for both sex trafficking and prostitution victims (including minors.) Further, law enforcement is finding that many sex trafficking victims and child sexual abuse imagery (i.e. child pornography) victims are coerced into creating live-stream or webcam pornography as well.

Accounts posting and selling pornographic content, from images to videos to live-streams, and even “escort” dates, are undeniably flourishing on Twitter.

The below screenshots were found on January 7, 2019—we did not include the more graphic posts of visually pornographic content, though these are easy for any user to stumble across.

As long as Twitter continues to allow pornography, and fails to remove ads for sex acts (whether recorded, live streamed, or in person) it is impossible to distinguish between those that are allegedly willingly distributing pornographic content and those whose pages are being managed by a sex trafficker or pimp.

It has been documented by law enforcement that pimps and sex traffickers often either coerce trafficking or child sexual abuse victims into making such advertising posts, or create the posts themselves in their victim’s name. This is what was found to happen on Backpage.com—the notorious classifieds ads website that was recently shut down by the Department of Justice for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking.

How can Twitter be a place for “free expression” where “every voice has the power to impact the world” while allowing accounts that post what amounts to sexual slavery advertisements?

Twitter prides itself as being a platform for “free expression” yet refuses to remove accounts posting likely advertisements for sexual slavery. Click To Tweet

We ask that Twitter commit to promoting freedom from sexual exploitation on its platform. Learn more about this campaign here.

Take Action: email Twitter executives by filling out this short form.

Haley Halverson

Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach

Haley Halverson is the Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she develops and executes national campaigns to change policies and raise awareness. Most notably, she promotes corporate social responsibility by constructing annual activism campaigns like the Dirty Dozen List, which names 12 mainstream private companies that facilitate sexual exploitation. Her advocacy work has contributed to instigating policy improvements in the native online advertising, retail, and hotel industries.

She is a member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, September 2018-2019. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She has provided training to Arlington County Child & Family Services on the social media grooming, recruitment, and advertising for sex trafficking. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at Johns Hopkins University.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for Media Research Center. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence.

Further Reading