Online prostitution has become a booming industry that has replaced the industry on the street, according to a report on 35 countries, including Belgium, by Fondation Scelles, a French organisation against prostitution.
The study,"Sexual exploitation: new challenges, new answers", showed that prostitution and sexual exploitation on the internet are emerging.
Criminal networks are relying more and more on instant messaging services, such as Whatsapp, to "manage their business," according to the study, but Facebook and Tinder are hijacked to recruit future prostitutes as well.
"The internet has mostly taken over street prostitution," explained magistrate Yves Charpenel, president of the Scelles Foundation. "The digital market facilitates the concealment, anonymity and discretion that allow the development of illegal activities," he added.
"From the same computer, a criminal network can identify its future, prostitutes, bring in customers and money laundering traffic," summarized Charpenel. He denounced the "industrial and risk-free" level of online sexual exploitation, which allows pimps to avoid personal risks "by keeping away" from the traffic."
The Brussels Times