Sugar dating is marketed as relationships in which young, attractive women can meet “experienced men” who will provide everything from mentorship to all expenses paid lavish vacations. In this system, men are encouraged to engage in no strings attached relationships with beautiful young women. Meanwhile, “sugar babies” are told that this experience will empower them and benefit them both financially and experientially.
Research has found that “the majority of sugar dating and other similar sex for money ‘mutually beneficial arrangements’ are illegal, as they are forms of prostitution, and state prostitution statutes should reflect this reality, regardless of the wealth of the parties involved.”
The largest hub of this new form of sexual exploitation is a website called SeekingArrangement. SeekingArrangement describes itself as creating “relationships on your terms”; terms which the website conveniently does not explicitly define, placing themselves in the gray area of facilitating online commercial sexual exploitation.
Rightfully so, the Apple app store does not carry an app for SeekingArrangement. However, the Google Play app store does!
Other experts have noted that sugar dating websites can not only facilitate prostitution but also sex trafficking:
“A lot of them get into this thinking they won’t have to have sex. Thinking this is a mutual relationship, he wants someone to look good and I look good. And that’s the end of it,” said Deanna Wallace, a Victim Assistance Specialist with Homeland Security Investigations, who added that often, that isn’t the end of it. “It has the potential to go into a situation that can cause harm, like a trafficking situation. It’s the isolation of the victims that are similar; it’s the unequal power of the relationship that people are going into.”