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Study Examines Men Soliciting Sex Online in Different Cities


All it takes is one wrong click and you could tap into any number of ads for online prostitutes and porn sites. The internet is providing instant, global access for those who solicit sex for money, but some are unaware of how high the demand is.

Jacqueline Robarge has spent a career helping struggling women who turn to the sex industry for survival. She told FOX45, "For the women we work with it's not labor, it's survival."

Online the sex industry has exploded but until now, the online sex trade has gone virtually unstudied. Researchers have learned a lot about what happens on the street, but they wanted researchers to learn a lot more about the demand online.

Now authorities have a better idea of how many customers are fueling the demand.

In a newly released study, researchers at Arizona State University examined online sex customers in 15 different cities. They placed decoy sex ads on Craigslist and Backpage.com and began counting responders.

Researchers found that 5% of the adult male population in specific cities had solicited online sex ads. The study showed that Houston had the greatest number of its adult male population who replied to the posted ad with 21% Baltimore had one of the lowest, 1.8%, of the male population who solicited the ad.

Doctor Fred Berlin is a psychiatrist who says the internet is often perceived as a safe place for those in the sex industry. "One might argue that its safe for a woman to meet someone on the internet where they can figure out who that person is, than standing on a street corner and perhaps being assaulted," Dr. Berlin told FOX45.

Researches want their findings to be a guide for both lawmakers and law enforcers, but Dr. Berlin hopes it doesn't lead to unfair conclusions. "It's not always the stereotype that people have in mind," Dr. Berlin said. "I've seen elderly individuals, their spouses passed away. They seek companionship through the internet."

Jacqueline Robage believes the study's findings will do little to cure a growing problem. She said, "I question its usefulness. I'm wondering why we need a percentage of who might be a customer versus focusing on helping the victims of trafficking, finding those women who trade sex purely for survival."

So far, there is no indication that the sex trade is leaving the streets, but online 1.8% of men in Baltimore could be willing to pay. Researchers did not release the contents of the ads they used in the study, or if their findings reveal any details about the number of women who may be soliciting sex from men. ..Source.. by Fox45.com

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