The release lays out the financial benefit to hosting such ads: "Whether free or paid, listings and ads for escort services and similar adult content frequently serve a business purpose for sites like and YP.com," the report explains.
"They drive traffic and page-views; they deliver legitimate results for seemingly (or pseudo-) legitimate businesses; and they provide search results with adjacent paid or pay-per-click ads, which can generate revenue as they are served." The volume of these ads is nowhere near that on Backpage, but AIM's finding shows how easily sex ads proliferate online, even in "legitimate" online venues.
A new report could defend the besieged -- and it comes from the same research organization that has been used in the campaign against the classified-ad site.
Activists calling for the site to shutter its adult classifieds section on the grounds that it promotes sex trafficking -- like New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof -- have seized on research from Advanced Interactive Media Group (AIM) showing that across a handful of sites carrying prostitution ads, 70 percent come from Backpage.
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As for any internationals hoping to date a Swede, the south of the country could be the best place to start.
"Malmö is an international city, so it’s really easy to melt in there if you’re from somewhere else," Lindström recommended.
In fact, the first lines of the report return to the supposedly resolved issue of sex ads on Craigslist: "Prostitution ads are back on Craigslist.
If they ever left in the first place." As the report explains, shortly after the adult section was shuttered, AIM reviewed the classified site and found that "there were few if any blatant ads for prostitution." But now, AIM has found that "ads that appear to be for paid sex work are posted regularly" on Craigslist.