September 21, 2021

What Happened to Backpage? Alternatives for Erotic Classified Ads in the UK

By Sona Mathews

Backpage was one of the largest classified advertising websites that were taken down in 2018.

Nowadays, AdultWork and Vivastreet are two popular alternatives for erotic classified ads in the United Kingdom.

What Happened to Backpage? Alternatives for Erotic Classified Ads in the UK: eAskme
What Happened to Backpage? Alternatives for Erotic Classified Ads in the UK: eAskme


As of 2021, prostitution is illegal in the United States, except for some counties in Nevada. In addition, it is legal to sell sex in Canada but illegal to purchase sex services and communicate to buy sex.

Prostitution in the United Kingdom exists in a legal grey area (except for Northern Ireland).

What Happened to Backpage? was founded back in 2004 and soon became Craigslist's biggest competitor.

Both websites are classified advertising sites that let users upload short ads in various categories (rentals, jobs, automotive, and adult). There were plenty of sections that had nothing to do with sex, but the 'adult' category that features 'male escorts', 'phones and websites', 'dom and fetish', and much more, of course, garnered the most attention.

Soon, Backpage became the second largest website of that kind in the United States. Then, in 2010, when Craigslist was forced to close its 'adult services' section, an enormous amount of traffic migrated to other websites (primarily, Backpage).

The site's CEO admitted that it was both a challenge and a fantastic opportunity for Backpage and that they have to make sure that all content is not illegal.

At first, the creators of Backpage were able to win the fight with the critics that claimed that the site facilitates sex trafficking and prostitution. However, in 2017, the website gave up and closed its adult section.

A little more than a year later, on April 6, 2018, Backpage was seized and taken down.

The former owners and executives were charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and facilitation prostitution.

Backpage was accused of hosting, amongst others, child sex trafficking ads. The prosecutors also mentioned that the website's team would assist advertisers in wording their posts so that it wouldn't look like they are offering sex for sale.

The police claim that since Backpage has been taken down, the number of prostitution arrests had noticeably decreased in the Lehigh Valley.

How Did the Situation with Backpage Affect the Sex Workers?

Plenty of sex workers across the United States and Canada were devastated by the news. For them, Backpage had been a reliable income stream for years.

The sex workers that we're able to advertise online had an opportunity to screen their clients beforehand, thus making the whole process safer.

After the takedown of Backpage, many sex workers were forced to work the streets and the bars, which is more dangerous.

Placing ads on smaller websites wasn't effective most of the time. Moreover, even such platforms might be under threat.

Many experts agree that such measures would only push the industry underground, making it even riskier for the workers and more challenging for the authorities to track.

AdultWork; Vivastreet - the Two Alternatives for Erotic Classified Ads in the UK

The Benefits of Vivastreet

Vivastreet is the world's largest classified advertising site. It has 15 years of experience and is available in many countries worldwide (UK, USA, Morocco, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, etc.).

Vivastreet's main aim is to be able to provide a safe platform for legal advertising.

The platform is operated responsibly and does everything possible to protect the privacy of those who advertise.

The website is also known for its incredible Support Service Hub.

Anyone can find links to specialist organizations and charities that can provide support and advice on a wide range of topics (starting from safety and ending with employment issues).

Vivastreet had provided over 135.000 pounds to non-profit organizations to help those who have suffered from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, the company is working with a specialist third-party provider to help its advertisers with personal financial advice.

Finally, Vivastreet funds a program made especially for those willing to transition out of adult services.

The Benefits of AdultWork

As the name suggests, focuses on adult products, services, and content. The website works in dozens of countries throughout the world.

The website launched back in 2003 and was first an advertising platform exclusively for escorts. 'The eBay of Sex' has, since then, transformed into a unique adult-business ecosystem that offers a rich set of tools and features that allow the members to have complete control over their online presence.

The website has over 4 million members that can advertise and communicate in a safe space. However, people that look young or like they are from a country with trafficking or exploitation problems will find it practically impossible to become a member. Moreover, the company is a regular contributor to initiatives that support sex workers and exploitation victims.

Of course, all content is carefully moderated.

Other platforms

Krypton Escort was recently started in the UK. It is a platform more for amateurs who want to work only occasionally. There is a plenty of information on the site on how to become an escort on Krypton and what to expect.

Before, the platform was availabe primarily in Germany and Austria. It is questionable whether they will be able to keep up with big competitors such as adult work and vivastreet.

AdultWork ; Vivastreet Against Human Trafficking

Both websites take the issue of human exploitation seriously. They work closely together with the Home Office (the lead government department for drugs policy, immigration, crime, and so on) to develop an effective approach to help identify and prevent online trafficking.

To make a difference, all websites have to engage with this process.

By the way, the platforms use a wide range of measures to detect and remove any material that can be considered inappropriate. Any suspicious content is reported to the police.

Moreover, Vivastreet has established a long-term partnership with National Ugly Mugs – a UK-wide charity working with sex workers to end all forms of violence against them.


Throughout the years, both Vivastreet and AdultWork have become popular websites for erotic classified ads in the United Kingdom.

Many sex workers find such platforms to be a safer alternative to working the streets or bars. Moreover, the majority of adult services can be fully provided online and becoming a member of the

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