8 February 2011, U.S. – Facebook has become the preferred tool of the trade for sex workers. A new study by Columbia University estimates that 83% of sex workers use a Facebook profile to promote their ‘services’.
Technology is changing the sex industry both in terms of players and ‘promotion’. In the study conducted by sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh, 290 sex workers from New York city for a year. As sex service ‘providers’ become more tech-savvy, industry-standard middle-men such as pimps and escort agencies are being by-passed.
Traditional middle-men have become less essential with the advent of smartphones and Facebook, and the free advertising possibilities they offer.
Prior to Facebook, clients sources were dominated by escort agencies at 40% market share, followed by strip clubs (24%) and Craigslist (9%). In 2008, just five years later, escort agencies lost a 9 point market share at 31%, Facebook found itself with a 25% market share, strip clubs fell to 11% and Craigslist to 3% due to the closing of it’s Erotic Services section.
It is estimated that Facebook will be THE go-to site for sex workers to advertise their services by the end of 2011. The request for a comment from Facebook came unanswered.