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Prostitutes Turning to Facebook to Drum Up Business

The days of going out on the streets to find a hooker are over, now that every prostitute has a Facebook page. A new study found an overwhelming number of ladies of the evening use the social network to sell their wares.

Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, undertook the grueling task of interviewing 290 prostitutes in New York City over the past year, discussing their financial and work habits.

In an article for Wired magazine, Venkatesh wrote that 83% of the sex workers he spoke to have a Facebook page on which they post pictures, advertise their services and set prices.

No self-respecting cosmopolitan man looking for an evening of companionship is going to lean out his car window and call out to a woman at a traffic light. Today they can control their image, set their prices, and sidestep some of the pimps, madams, and other intermediaries who once took a share of the revenue.

The crackdown on "escort agencies" on Craigslist has had its desired effect. Venkatesh found that the share of clients learning about them from the classifieds site fell from 9% to 3%.

Of the women I talked to, 61 percent said they’ve used Craigslist, mostly for advertising. But even before the crackdown on the site’s adult-services section, sex workers were turning to Facebook.

In addition to social networking, Venkatesh said 70% of the women he spoke with always carry a smartphone, saying it boosts their earning power.


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