Backpage Demise Worldwide

On Backpage you could take $10 and turn it into $1000.

— Jessi, Australian sex worker

Backpage USA

It’s been a month since Backpage seizure, and it has caused a detrimental effect on many American sex workers; however, the USA wasn’t the only one that suffered.

Sister Sites

Backpage had many affiliated websites such as Cracker. Cracker was used in Hong Kong, Australia and other international countries. Some of these countries have also felt the impact from Backpage’s seizure. 


 Screenshot of Cracker. Image courtesy of Hollywood LA
Screenshot of Cracker. Image courtesy of Hollywood LA

People didn’t realise how serious it was until it was quite late.

— Summer Knight, Australian sex worker

Cracker operated just like Backpage as a classifieds website where users could post ads to sell services or buy services. It was popular in Europe and Australia with sex workers promoting adult services. Australia has felt the burn of Cracker’s shutdown.

Note: Australians could also use the Australia section of Backpage too.

 Juniper Jessi, an Australian based sex worker
Juniper Jessi, an Australian based sex worker


An Australian sex worker, Jessi, was in surgery when the website shutdown. After her surgery was over, she now had medical bills. With her main source of income (95% of her clientele base was from Backpage) gone, she had to come up with another way to pay her bills. Luckily, she had the help & support of friends, but it wasn’t easy.

 Elle Knox raising awareness about an online fundraiser for Jessi
Elle Knox raising awareness about an online fundraiser for Jessi

A lot of people are feeling the pinch very much. We all have rent to pay, some of us have family responsibilities — we’re not all young gay and carefree, if you know what I mean.

— Cameron Cox, CEO of Sex Workers Outreach Project

Many gay & transsexual workers also lost access to websites dedicated to their market such as gay dating sites, and other helpful websites that were resources for information on staying safe and health.


Sex workers in Australia also responded to the crisis by creating an alternative called Crocker. 

Crocker has grown interest in the area and there’s a section for USA workers here: Crocker – United States of Antarctica

Various tweets from Twitter relating to Cracker & Backpage’s seizure in Australia.

Read More
Sex Workers in Australia Say American Law Creating Losses Back Home

New Zealand’s Backpage

Australia’s neighbor felt the burn as well. New Zealand had a section for their cities such as Auckland on Backpage, and it was a widely used website for escorts to post ads since it was cheap, yet generated a lot of business.

Kiwi (term used to describe natives from New Zealand) sex workers talked about how they couldn’t post on New Zealand escort directories because they were too expensive.

 New Zealand Girls directory. Some sex workers in NZ can't afford to post on these directories
New Zealand Girls directory. Some sex workers in NZ can’t afford to post on these directories

Backpage also aided in harm prevention for Kiwi workers too such as Maya, who described their experience after escaping a predator.

I started doing sex work at 15 as a recent migrant from Asia, having been groomed by a predator. It was Backpage which actually allowed me to escape that sort of niche and enter the industry proper, and from there I was able to choose my clients and have more agency.

— Maya, Kiwi sex worker

Maya talked about how quickly she began receiving requests for unsafe sex, hagglers asking to reduce her rates and some even had the audacity to ask her to become their ‘live-in slut‘ two days after Backpage shut down. 

She also discussed the greater effect it will have on poor and marginalized workers. 

It will also disproportionately affect gay male sex workers and trans sex workers, for whom other advertising options and the pool of clientele are slimmer. If a starving student needs to sell panties for a quick $20 of bread and noodles, that’s not going to be half as easy anymore.

— Maya, Kiwi sex worker

Maya concluded with discussing about her and her colleagues possibly doing newspaper ads in the future. 

Kiwi Sex Workers at Risk After Forum Shuts Down

Unrelated, but Pissed Me Off

Upon searching ‘New Zealand Backpage escorts’ to find more articles related to sex workers effected by the shutdown, I came across this random 2-year-old article. What pissed me off about it was how there was (in my opinion) trafficking possibly being orchestrated.

Yet, no one didn’t do anything. Of course!

Over the past week, the Herald contacted a few of the women advertising sex on Backpage and spoke to one who said she could not talk because someone else was in the room with her. Before hanging up, she said the phone was being used by seven other women who were also selling themselves on the site.

— Olivia Carville, NZ Herald

Before hanging up, I suspect the tone of that woman’s voice was timid as fuck too. 

Gee, I wonder who that other person was in the room with her. Also, why are there seven women in one area who are all online advertising (or being advertised by someone else) who only have access to one phone? Am I the only one who sees details that make this scenario look sketchy?!

1 (888) 373-7888 – National (USA) Human Trafficking Resource Center
If you suspect trafficking of any kind!

Backpage, which is owned by a Dutch holding company, tried to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing it wasn’t liable because it only operates as a host to content posted by others.

— probably the reason why websites now hold liability over their user’s content


Read More
Exposed: NZ Women Selling Themselves on Notorious Trafficking Site

Worldwide Ripple Effect

The shutdown is clearly making life harder for workers in the industry globally. However, more & more workers are also helping the industry to keep their presence alive.

If you remove sex workers from the internet, you’re increasing sex trafficking because the internet provides a safe place for sex workers to find their clients. If you don’t have that place, the most marginalised escort sex workers are far more likely to turn to pimps who will exploit and take advantage of them.

— Summer Knight explaining common sense to the US government