A Baseline Assessment: Analysis of Women Escort Advertisements Posted on Backpage.com in Madison, WI
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This study will analyze the relationship between technology and sex trafficking in Madison, Wisconsin. This is a collaborative effort between the community of Madison and the University of Wisconsin 4W STREETS (Social Transformation to End Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex) Project. Aims of this study are to determine 1) the prevalence of postings of female escorts on Backpage.com in Madison, Wisconsin and 2) whether indicator tools can detect victims of online sex trafficking on postings under female escorts on Backpage.com. Data was collected from women who posted advertisements from February 1st, 2016 to May 31st,, 2016 under the female escort section on Backpage.com in Madison, WI. An indicator tool was created from best available evidence and local contextual dynamics that were noted by a detective in Madison that works in the anti-trafficking field. Based on information collected, thirteen indicators were tracked on every advertisement. Documenting “yes” to indicator(s) observed on an ad suggested an increased potential for the woman to be at-risk for online sex trafficking. Based on the literature available, the following six variables were created, tracked, and analyzed: number of indicators observed on an ad, number of days an ad was posted, phone numbers and area codes, and self-identified race/ethnicity and age that were written on ads. The purpose of this study is to understand if there were any causal relationships from the data collected using the indicator tools and detecting victims of online sex trafficking.
online sex trafficking
Leimontas, M. & Huibregste, M. (2020). A Baseline Assessment: Data Collection and Analysis of Women Escort Advertisements Posted on Backpack.com in Madison, WI. UNESCO Working Paper Series 001-02-2020. 4W Initiative, University of Wisconsin-Madison.