Sex workers profiles list ‘adult entertainment’ under their skills.
LinkedIn not only hosts online profiles for professionals in law, journalism, management and recruitment, amongst others, there are hundreds of workers from the sex industry showcasing their talents on the professional social network site.
Despite LinkedIn banning all prostitutes and escorts having profile pages earlier this year, there are still hundred of escorts and sex workers listing their services on the site.
In an update to their user agreement terms, the company wrote: "Even if it is legal where you are located, [users cannot] create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution."
But professionals who list skills such as ‘nude massage’ and ‘adult entertainment’ on their profile are still present on the site.
While professionals in the sex industry may not get much direct custom through the network – social networking platforms like LinkedIn are essential for their business model.
One example is Sheri’s Ranch, a brothel based in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. "In 2013 most legitimate businesses benefit from a presence on social media. Having a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn company page, and even a YouTube account for interactive video is pretty much standard practice for any company worth its salt," a spokesman for Sheri’s Ranch said. "The legal sex work industry is no exception."
Despite prostitution being legal in the state, brothels are unable to advertise in the mass media and so social networking sites are especially important for sex workers, he said. "SEO is absolutely a concern for us, as the adult industry is highly competitive and maintaining key positions for certain search results is of paramount importance. I can’t go into the details of our online strategies, but we do have a full time SEO team on staff."
Sex workers are concerned about their online profile as any other professional, and sites offering tips on how to make yourself stand out in the marketplace are available on the internet as they are for any other industry. "Stay true to your escort brand," one reads.
"You’ve worked hard to create and maintain an image for your escort career." It will take more than a change in T&Cs to stop escorts and their agencies developing their brands on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn recently lowered its age restrictions so that children as young as 13 can create a profile. With the presence of easily accessible sexual content, this may be a cause concern, particularly since David Cameron vowed to clamp down on pornographic material visible to children on the Internet.