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NCJ Number: 205052 Find in a Library
Title: Prostitution Online
Journal: Journal of Trauma Practice  Volume:2  Issue:3/4  Dated:2003  Pages:115-131
Author(s): Donna M. Hughes
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 17
Type: Research Paper
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines how technological innovations and unregulated use of the Internet has contributed to the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children.
Abstract: The Internet has created a global medium for the sexual exploitation of women and children by increasing men’s sexual access to women and children at the same time that it increases both their privacy and communications. The first section of the article describes Internet technologies and how some are used to promote and deliver online prostitution. The historical development of the Web is traced, as is the emergence of online prostitution communities. The article goes to analyze how advancements in information technologies have allowed men an increased capacity to harm women and children. The use of the Internet has increased women’s visibility at the same time that men’s anonymity has increased. Quotations from prostitutes discuss their feelings of exposure upon finding themselves nude on the Internet. Next, the article explores how the Internet furthers the sexual exploitation of women and children by offering online communities for perpetrators to gather and share stories. By offering a common meeting place for perpetrators, the Internet normalizes sexual perpetrators and their acts. Violence and humiliation are also normalized and eroticized. The author posits that the combined effect of using new information technologies, finding a supportive community online, and having a sexual experience reinforces and empowers perpetrators. Viewing women and children online as commodities on sex sites serves to dehumanize women and children, causing a loss of empathy for them. The article next turns to women’s experience of online sexual exploitation. The few glimpses of women’s experiences online point to women living in constrained economic circumstances with few opportunities. Women involved in online sex shows report abuse that is both similar to the abuse found within the regular sex industry and unique to the online industry. More research is called for concerning how Internet technologies can be used for the purpose of sexual exploitation. However, research conducted within the current legal framework will be hard pressed to identify victims and how they have been hurt and to identify perpetrators and how they have harmed victims. Note, references
Main Term(s): Computers; Prostitution; Sex offenses
Index Term(s): Abused children; Abused women; Sexual assault
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