Sex Trafficking and Prostitution On Twitter

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 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, [i] and child sexual abuse imagery (i.e. child pornography) victims, [ii] are coerced into creating livestream or webcam pornography as well.

Accounts posting and selling pornographic content, from images to videos to livestreams, and even requests for sugar baby/mommy 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.

Examples of Easily Identifiable Prostitution, & Likely Sex Trafficking, Advertisement Account

Examples of Tweets Advertising Prostitution & Likely Sex Trafficking

2019

2018

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.

 


[i] Sunshine de Leon, “Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century” 2013. scourgehttps://www.cnn.com/2013/07/17/world/asia/philippines-cybersex-trafficking/index.html

[ii] Martha Mendoza and Jim Gomez, “AP Exclusive: Big child webcam sex bust reveals rising abuse” 2017. https://www.apnews.com/74b81f79e9024124a1cfe43a0ce9eec2

 

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