Prostitution and Technology
Prostitution may be monikered as the oldest profession in the world; but that hasn’t stopped it from delving into newer ventures and adapting them. The scandal that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had been involved in has divulged some secrets of modern-day sex work: electronic fund transfers, websites featuring colour photos, text messages to pass information to clients, and for prices and rankings. Ronald Weitzer, author of Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography and the Sex Industry affirms that the introduction of technology and its advancement in the sex industry has only increased the gap between indoor prostitution and street-level prostitution. Not only has technology enabled brothels and prostitutes to function more efficiently, but has also leveraged word-of-mouth into newer, unprecedented levels that are helping build and bolster their brand. Online platforms which are based on prostitution and escort services concrete customer fidelity.
Audacia Ray, author of Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing in on Internet Sexploration and also a whilom sex worker herself, asserts that prostitution has not only become commercial but also social; to the extent that people start building relationships on it. “Clients become buddies,” she adds. There are a myriad of websites and online message boards which give potential clients to discuss, rate and exchange information about women. Websites like these are a haven for prostitutes and escorts to advertise themselves. Weitzer goes onto explain that these websites also take care of the business-end of such clandestine acts. Clients always are on the lookout for a one-night stand, and inadvertently land up on one of these websites. And in response, escort services can also run a background check on these clients to ascertain if these [clients] would be safe for the engagement. The payment is also decided on the same website.
Spitzer, who’d dealings with the high-end prostitution organization Emperors Club VIP, had been arrested when banks noticed huge cash transactions from a multitude of accounts. The banks filed suspicious-activity reports with the Internal Revenue Service, a cyber crime officer reported. The accounts linked back to Spitzer, and he was brought to book.
Devices such as web cams present newer opportunities to prostitutes, says Norma Jean Almodovar, director of a sex workers’ rights organization. There are many portals online which feature strippers and harlots, streaming videos of themselves in real time for thousands of customers. Some have prices and monthly memberships while some don’t charge a price. Jimmie Mesis, editor in chief of Professional Investigator Magazine, says that prostitutes can also use high-tech measures to avoid getting caught. When prostitutes prostitute, they can use camera-detection equipment to spot any surveillance devices that might be recording the whole event. Mesis adds that the police do not find equipment or do not have the authority to find equipment until they make an arrest. Many prostitutes have become tech-savvy to protect themselves, and often carry a bug detector. But for every client that is uncovered, it is difficult to comprehend how much prostitution remain hidden.