NEW YORK (AP) — Recent crackdowns targeting the sex-for-hire industry have reduced the number of ads on the internet and helped fight online trafficking.
But activists and police say the efforts may have had unintended consequences, landing women and girls back on the streets.
The impact was almost immediate after the seizure of Backpage.com by the federal government in April and President Donald Trump’s signature the same month on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.
Police in some of the nation’s biggest cities told The Associated Press they are also seeing a shift.
Records show law enforcement in San Antonio arrested 296 people for prostitution between March 21, when the sex trafficking act passed Congress, and Aug. 14, up from 187 arrests from the year before.