One thing I've noticed over my years working in law enforcement is how prostitution offenses have changed over the years. Much of this activity, even in the sleepy little burg where I work has moved to online sites such as Craigslist or Backpage. Even the most desperate street walking "crack whore" is using these sites to ply her trade nowadays. The Internet and all it's good points and bad points have become that ubiquitous.
Wired Magazine had an opinion piece worth reading on combating sex-trafficking. The piece by Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft discusses the role technology plays in this type of crime. In it, Danah as this worthy bit:
Lately, there’s been a tide shift. There’s a movement afoot where technologists, social scientists, government agencies, advocates, and NGOs have started coming together to imagine and build technology-based innovations that would disrupt the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Because creating meaningful technical — and social — interventions to combat human trafficking (and other forms of exploitation) requires moving beyond fears and dreams. Beyond dystopian and utopian rhetoric.When Craigslist became infamous for this type of activity, they were pressured into making changes that forced much of this activity off Craigslist. The problem was that Backpage popped up to fill the slack and most of these sex traffickers were right back in business.
Danah's right. You're not going to solve a difficult crime problem with a simplistic solution like shuttering a website. It's going to take a lot of smart people getting together and devoting time, talent and energy to come up with creative solutions if these problems are going to be solved.