As noted above, many traffickers advertise their victims on a variety of Internet sites, the most common one being www.backpage.com. Because of the anonymity permitted by the Internet, traffickers can easily create and post these advertisements with minimal risk. Traffickers use pre-paid debit cards to pay backpage.com’s fee, so these payments generally cannot be traced to a trafficker. Although the advertisements usually include photographs of women (usually dressed in lingerie and in sexually-suggestive poses), traffickers frequently harvest photographs from other advertisements on www.backpage.com, and usually don’t use the real photographs of the women and girls they are trafficking. The advertisements contain a telephone number which customers can call to arrange a “date” with the victim. As a further hindrance to law enforcement, many traffickers use prepaid cellular telephones and periodically throw away these phones.
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