Welcome to the latest horror of the world wide web, Potential Prostitutes.
The website allows users to label any woman a “potential prostitute” by submitting her photo, phone number and location. This information is then posted on the site without the woman’s consent. If someone wishes to be removed from the site, they are asked to pay a one-time fee of $99.95.
According to the website, Potential Prostitutes “operate[s] based on the efforts from motivated members of their local community who have at one point or another come into contact with a potential prostitute online and feel they can be a threat.” The mission statement goes on to thank “brave visitors for stepping forward to tell the world what it should already know, that exposing online prostitute discourages other potential offenders from doing the very same thing.” Yes, this website actually exists.
The FAQ section makes it clear that the founders of Potential Prostitutes — who have yet to make themselves known, Boing Boing reported — do not care whether the accusations of prostitution are libelous and state that the profiles will remain published unless someone pays to remove them.
Boing Boing also reported that the website was only registered in October 2012, and to a P.O. box in Stockholm, Sweden. This means that it’s hard to know whether the women listed are even real women or whether anyone has in fact paid the exorbitant fee to be removed. Weighing in over at The Gloss, Amanda Chatel wrote that Potential Prostitutes “seems to be less about ‘saving’ the world from sex workers and more about extorting money from the falsely accused.”
Real or not, the idea behind the site is pretty sick. Don’t women already get shamed enough for their sexual choices? And even if the women on the site were actual prostitutes, how are they “threats” to those invited to participate in this site?