Prostitution online

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Date of Original Version



The technological innovations and unregulated use of the Internet have created a global medium for men’s sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children. The sex industry has aggressively adopted every new information technology to increase men’s sexual access to women and children. A mutually beneficial relationship exists between the Internet and sex industries. New technologies enable pimps to market women and children in prostitution or related activities, such as online strip shows, sex shows, and commercial voyeurism. The global communications forums have increased the visibility and exposure of women and children being exploited and abused, while conversely, increasing the privacy and communication of the men who exploit and abuse them. These forums normalize men’s exploitative and abuse behaviors. Violence and humiliation are eroticized. The combined experience of using new information technologies, finding a supportive community on the Internet, and having a sexual experience is positively reinforcing and empowering to perpetrators. Viewing and interacting with women in online sex sites causes a loss of empathy for them as human beings. Women used in online sex shows are exploited and abused in ways that are both similar to the regular sex industry and unique to being online. In some instances, the abuse and exploitation is worse. More research is needed on the use of new information technologies for the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children. . . . it’s pretty bad working at [an] adult [Web] site. . . . the abuse is way beyond what goes on at strip clubs . . ." (Email from Renee, May 19, 2000). © 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Trauma Practice