translated from Spanish: A report denounces Prostitution 2.0

A report released on Tuesday denounces the use of new technologies in prostitution, with pimps who manage their activities by WhatsApp, look for their victims in Instagram and attract their customers in Internet ads. » Prostitution and sexual exploitation on the internet are a plague in full expansion, says the Scelles Foundation, which published a study of 548 pages called «Prostitutional System: New challenges, new responses.» Most messaging systems and social networks, such as WhatsApp, Tinder, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or AIRBNB, are used for prostitution, according to the study, which analyses the situation in 35 countries. In 2016 a Russian pimp was arrested for leading a prostitution network in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East through WhatsApp, whose message encryption system hinders the authorities ‘ vigilance.

Photo: AFP

In Israel, «Tinder is currently the most widely used tool for seeking prostitutes,» according to the report.

In France, young girls are the victims of the procuring boom in the poorest neighborhoods. In many cases they are young, away from their family and drug addicts, which the pimps locate by Snapchat or Instagram. They are then prostituted in rented apartments by Airbnb. In Zambia there are students who go to cybercafes, very popular because they facilitate access to the Internet, and use groups of WhatsApp and Facebook to put in relation to people who prostitute themselves with their Customers. » All countries are affected, either with restrictive legislation, as in China, or permissive, as in Germany, judges Yves Charpenel, president of the Scelles Foundation, points to AFP. This «Prostitution 2.0» has replaced for some years the Prostitution on the street. In France it represents two thirds of the total prostitution, according to the report.

The Scelles Foundation, which mentions a note from the French Ministry of the Interior of May 2018, underlines that for the first time in 2017 the percentage of victims identified in the public thoroughfare was lower than that of the victims who exercise in apartments or hotels. The internet has made street prostitution disappear, which is now only marginal, says Charpenel and denounces an «industrial and safe» system of sexual exploitation on the Internet, which allows pimps to «avoid personal risks» and be «estranged from Traffic «.» From a single computer, a criminal network can identify its future ‘ products ‘, attract customers and then launder the money, ‘ he says. In parallel, authorities sometimes find it difficult to identify ambiguous prostitution ads that speak of «massages» or «moments of evasion.» To curb the phenomenon «we must build a real Internet governance,» claim the Scelles Foundation. In France, the Prostitution Act of April 2016, which includes measures to penalize customers, obliges Internet providers to Set up a system to point out fraudulent content. » It’s not enough. Prostitution generates so many benefits that it is everywhere. We need to be more responsible for the platforms, says Charpenel. However, the report points out that the first steps are being given. In France, the Web Vivastreet, investigated by «aggravated procuring», decided in June 2018 to suspend its section of «encounters» to avoid its «inappropriate use». In the United States, the Congress adopted in March 2018 a law that ended the impunity of the Web publishing ads of prostitution and allowed to close Backpage, considered by its detractors as the main web of prostitution in the world.

Original source in Spanish

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