Paola is an escort, that is, she offers escort services. She does the work independently; she doesn’t stop at a corner, she just goes “in line”. He doesn’t wait for a car to stop, he just checks “the tweets or the whats” and makes an appointment. It is advertised through web portals and social networks.
Paola is an escort, that is, she offers escort and sex service services. She does the work independently; she doesn’t stop at a corner, she just goes “in line”. He doesn’t wait for a car to stop, he just checks “the tweets or the whats” and makes an appointment. It is advertised through web portals and social networks.
The need to pursue her studies led her to look for employment options in Mexico City to cover her expenses. “What can I do about it? What do I do best, I thought,” says the short-haired, blond woman.
Paola’s friends, who worked as escorts, suggested that she advertise on the ZonaDivas website, an advertising site for models and escorts. Paola researched what was needed to advertise and hired a photographer to do a session for her, as photographs are a prerequisite for registering on the portal. On this site, a photographer is announced who offers a package of 20 photographs for 8,000 pesos that includes “location, makeup, hairstyle, three changes of clothes and digital retouching”.
“If you want to advertise on ZonaDivas you have to pay 3,700 pesos a month; it’s not cheap. But the people who recommend the site tell you that you’re going to do well, that you’re going to make the investment. Between the photos and the easy publication you will get about ten thousand pesos, if not more, they can be up to 15 thousand pesos, depending on how you want to see yourself. Here, a few home pictures won’t do you any good. If you want to make a good living you have to spend. Everything costs here.
In her first photo shoot Paola was nervous, but after “a while” she says she is more confident. “It’s not that I’ve ever needed anyone else to help me, simply and simply. Well, just the customers. But no one else.”
In the photographs for publication you can see the face or it can be covered, depending on the advertiser. After filling out a form with the real data, before a notary, the women sign a contract with ZonaDivas in which they declare to work independently.
Once Paola met all the requirements, she invented a stage name, “Venus Princess”, to give a performance with a bed as the main stage.
The Divas Zone portal started in 2001 under the name “Divas” and changed its name to “Divas” in 2006. The website belongs to the company Beat, S.A. de C.V. whose creator is Ignacio Antonio Santoyo, known as Sony.
The project was born at the suggestion of an Argentinean friend of Sony, she was working as an escort and mentioned that in Mexico there was no website to advertise these services independently. Currently, the portal has 400 registered women and receives 30 to 60 thousand daily visits. “The traffic is high; we are also talking about unique visitors, according to the traffic analysis systems,” said the company’s spokesman, Alejandro Caballero.
For Ignacio Antonio Santoyo, what characterizes the site is that the company certifies each of the advertisers and ensures legal support. “Anyone from your computer can create a portal. There are free portals, those are the benefits of the Internet, but being an established company that has a prestigious portal such as ZonaDivas, with all the legal records needed to put a company, is different. As a legal company you pay taxes.
ZonaDivas was regularly mentioned in different media after three of its advertisers were killed in the last two months of 2017 and in February of this year. “Girls take the same risk if they advertise on Twitter, Facebook or on the page. They were able to meet their attacker inside the page, the same and yes, the same and no. We can’t know who is calling them,” said the company spokesman.
In Mexico, there are more than 50 pages operating under an advertising model similar to that of ZonaDivas, where men and women advertise company services, says the CEO. Each portal announces between 200 and 700 escorts, where photos, general information and contact telephone numbers are displayed.
Platforms such as mileroticos.com, sexoservidoras.com and substitutes.com, publish free companion service announcements in the country, and recently, the site, Sexlave, joined these portals specialized in company announcements, but innovated by creating a tutorial on Youtube to facilitate the registration of their advertisers. It’s a five-step, four-minute video that has over 800 hits. It is the rise of supply and demand in the sex trade.
Most sites are unregulated. Octavio Victoria, head of the Public Security Secretariat’s liaison department, mentions that the preventive cybercrime police monitor social networks and websites in general in order to prevent crimes from being committed to prevent identity theft or human trafficking, but “removing or deleting a portal is never the solution because just like removing it, they pick it up again and this is repetitive,” he says.
Paola, in addition to advertising her services on pages, makes use of her Twitter account, where she has more than 93,000 followers; she says it’s her best publicity and she doesn’t have to pay for it, hence she gets most of her customers. “I get about 15 proposals and from there it can be 3 to 5 services, depending on what the body can take.
Her number of followers increased when, at the 2016 Olympics, Paola wrote on her Twitter account: “We want medals, motherfuckers, I give free service to the Olympic medalist who cheers Mexico up,” was a trend on social networks. “Demand for services rose. Everyone wanted to be with the girl from the Rio games,” he explains.
Venus tours the country and offers its services around the country. “I never stay in one place, I only stay three or two days. You could say I don’t live here or there. I walk everywhere.” The idea came about because network users in various parts of the country were asking for its services.
“I started to do socioeconomic studies of each city and see which one I should go to. I checked the number of inhabitants to give myself a margin that I could or could not get a job and it would be convenient to pay the expenses, because as I am traveling in my car… you have to see the way it is business,” Paola says.
Twitter has become a catalogue of advertising for women and sexual services by simply placing the word “escort” on its search engine. In websites or social network ads, sometimes, the price for the service they provide is shown, ranging from three hundred pesos to five thousand pesos per hour.
There is not a strong presence on Facebook of pages about providing escort services, but there are many “recruiters” who look for women on employment pages to “offer them work as escorts or models”. The girls in the middle mention that they have been contacted by people seeking to represent them, when they work on their own and warn their colleagues not to be fooled by these advertisements.
Katherine, a 22-year-old escort girl, was contacted by a “modeling agency” when she was looking for work on a Facebook job posting page. They made her work for two months but never paid her for the services she performed. One of his clients suggested that he become independent. “He said,’How about I meet you outside and give you what the agency gave him. He gave me 3,500 pesos, when the agency charged 1,200 pesos and gave you half, but he never gave me anything.
Factors such as poverty, violence and exploitation, are what drive these women into sex work, rather than condemning them, is to analyze the society that leaves them without opportunities and see in the sex service the only alternative to get ahead, says Ana Yeli Pérez, coordinator of Justicia Pro Persona A.C. “The risk in this work is latent because many of those who hire, dehumanize and treat them as merchandise” he mentions.
Paola mentions that she would never advertise on Facebook because most girls who are published close their accounts because of nudity and denouncements and on Twitter it is less likely.
Women who advertise as “escorts” publish erotic images and sometimes show themselves in full nudes or pornographic videos in order to attract more people to their profile.
Paola takes advantage of all the advantages that the networks offer to her to advertise and get “followers”, who can be potential clients. Now his main goal is to save for a better future, “this is not for life. Nothing is forever, because youth will not last me; neither youth nor body. This is just a waterspout for what I want to do later on.
With the profits from her work, Paola has invested in two businesses and supports low-income children to continue their studies.
On the other hand, Allison and Samantha are two other women who also use social networks to offer their companionship services. Samantha advertises herself as an escort on Twitter and has more than 22,000 followers. In her previous job, as an assistant accountant, there wasn’t much to do and she spent her time on the internet, so she got to know the pages and profiles of her colleagues. “I thought, this is what I make in a month. At that time, I was very flat and said, how much can I charge, because I had no bubi and no pomp. But, anyway, the bills came out, I kept on winning a lot.
Allison has an account with 45,000 followers; she started selling used thongs for 800 pesos on Facebook fetish pages, when her number of customers went up, one of her main buyers, for a larger amount of money, suggested a service instead of underwear and she accepted. Now she’s been a sex server for three years.
“There is always a point of satisfaction at work, although there are times when you have to pretend,” says Paola. For her, self-employed sex work can be profitable, but she also faces discrimination, violent clients and sexually transmitted diseases.