The Best Backpage Alternatives in Australia

, Official New Cracker Australia | No.1 Adult Classifieds | Escorts Australia

Backpage was a classified advertising website that had become the largest marketplace (especially in Australia) for buying and selling sex by the time that US federal law enforcement agencies seized it in April 2018. Although Backpage was taken down in 2018, these 6 websites are picking up the slack in Australia.

Sex work in Australia will always be a controversial topic but at the end of the day, sex work is a job just like any other. And many women in the Australian sex work industry argue that the perks such as the ability to set their own working hours, screen clients, and earn money doing something they love, makes it a better option than working a regular nine to five job.

Websites like provided sex workers in Australia with a safe platform for them to advertise their adult services. But in 2018, a law meant to curb sex trafficking and prostitution was passed, causing the shutdown of Backpage and dozens of sites alike. On this page we have compiled all the information you need to know about Backpage, what happened to it, and a few Backpage replacements in Australia.

The history of Backpage

ackpage was launched in 2004 by New Times Media (later to be known as Village Voice Media), a publisher of 11 alternative newsweeklies, as a free classified advertising website.

Backpage soon became the second largest online classified site in the United States (and the most popular in Australia). The old site included the various categories found in newspaper classified sections including those that were unique to and part of the First Amendment-driven traditions of most alternative weeklies. These included personals (including adult-oriented personal ads), adult services, musicians and “New Age” services.

Backpage Adult Classifieds Section

Although you could find postings of all kinds, was most known for its sex work ads, ranging from erotic massage to escort services. This platform allowed sex workers to find a lot of work with little effort, post/read reviews about clients, and communicate with other people in the industry – making it much safer than working the street.

Until January 9, 2017, Backpage’s adult section contained different subcategories of various sex work types. The company suspended its adult listings following accusations by a United States Senate subcommittee of being directly involved with sex-trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. However, many escorts and erotic masseuses admit to moving their ads to the “massage” and “women seeking men” listings.

Kristen DiAngelo, executive director of the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Sacramento, criticized the shutdown, questioning how many sex workers across the United States no longer had a way to support themselves. Backpage allowed for sex workers using the site to post bad date lists, screen clients and communicate with other sex workers to ensure a safer experience. Activists argued that the move would force some of the site’s users to work on the street instead.

, Official New Cracker Australia | No.1 Adult Classifieds | Escorts Australia

The Controversy and Suspension of

As early as 2011 critics and law enforcement began accusing Backpage of being a hub for sex trafficking of both adults and minors. Despite claims by the website that it sought to block ads suspected of child sex trafficking or prostitution and reported some per month to the NCMEC, which in turn notified law enforcement.

In 2015 Backpage lost all credit card processing agreements as banks came under pressure from law enforcement, leaving Bitcoin as the remaining option for paid ads.

Backpage supporters claimed that by providing prompt and detailed information about suspicious postings to law enforcement, including phone numbers, credit card numbers and IP addresses, the website helped protect minors from trafficking. They contended that shutting down Backpage would drive traffickers to other places on the internet that will be less forthcoming about crucial information for law enforcement.

Is Backpage Still Around? What Happened To It?

In April 2018, Backpage’s users were surprised that the site was not working. The site had been a target of anti-sex work groups and law enforcement for years, but was finally shut down by a new law designed to curb human trafficking and child prostitution.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) came into effect, resulting in the takedown of dozens of sites that were suspected of facilitating or supporting sex trafficking. This included classifieds and personals sites that hosted ads for sex workers, like Craigslist Personals and Backpage.

Many people were affected by the site shutdown, including former Backpage executive Michael Lacey who was charged with human trafficking for knowingly facilitating prostitution on his site. 

Although sex trafficking of adults and minors is a real problem, and it is possible that some of Backpage’s ads were for trafficked persons, there was a lot of pushback to the shutdown from sex workers themselves.

What Kind Of Services Could You Find On Backpage for Australia?

Whether you were searching from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, or Canberra, you could find local listings of all types. You could find job postings, furniture sales, personal ads, and much more on Backpage.  However, most people went to Backpage for its adult services section.

Postings ranged from professional BDSM practitioners, erotic masseuses, escorts, sugar babies, cam girls, and other kinds of sex workers. While most sex workers posted under “women seeking men”, there were listings for all genders and orientations. There were female to female, male to male, and male to female services as well, although significantly less popular.

If you visit today, the site is completely inaccessible, save for a notice from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation about the seizure of the site. This caused sex workers and clients to scramble to other Backpage alternatives, like the ones we list below.

Backpage Alternative Websites

  • Locanto
    Locanto is one of the latest Backpage replacements to move in after FOSTA-SESTA was signed into law. The site is available in dozens of countries around the world and has listings for jobs, events, real estate, and more. Head into the personals section and you’ll find ads for dating, casual hookups, and yes, sex work.
  • Skokka
    Skokka is different from other classifieds in that it’s strictly an “erotic personals portal” for dating and adult services. Choose from categories like Escorts, Swingers, and Transsexual to find what you’re looking for.
    It’s not difficult to find “luxury companions” and professional dominatrixes on Cracker. Some categories have more posts than others – you’ll have the best luck under the Dating section or Escorts category.
  • Punter Planet
    Punter Planet is a forum site dedicated to Australian escorts and sex workers. You can browse through a directory of nearby escorts, read reviews from other clients, and connect easily with your SWer of choice.
  • Crockor
    Crockor is a free classifieds site based in Australia, so it’s unaffected by the US FOSTA-SESTA laws. If you live in a major city, you’ll find hundreds of postings under the adult services category, with most falling under escorting or erotic massage.
  • Twitter
    We were originally going to include Swagmates, one of Australia’s premier adult services sites, on this list, but the site is no longer up and running. Instead, check out Twitter – tons of sex workers operate on the platform. Bonus: you get daily updates and photos as well!


Regardless of what you think about sex work, these platforms provide sex workers with a safe way to engage with clients. It is possible to fight sex trafficking without hurting adult services providers, and it starts with listening to the people actually affected by these laws: sex workers themselves.

References and Further Reading
  1. ^ (January 20, 2016). “Backpage site statistics”. Alexa Internet. Retrieved January 20, 2016.

  2. ^ “Exclusive: Report gives glimpse into murky world of U.S…” Reuters. April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Noah (July 24, 2020). “28 Best Backpage Alternative Websites (2020 Update)”. Alternativoj. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ “ CEO pleads guilty to California money charges”. Business Insider. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Astor, Maggie (April 12, 2018). “Backpage Chief Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Money Laundering”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Jump up to: a b Kiefer, Michael (September 23, 2012), Phoenix New Times founders selling company, Phoenix: The Arizona Republic, retrieved December 1, 2015
  7. ^ “Backpage pulls adult ads and accuses government of ‘censorship. NBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Salinger, Alexa (2017). The Ultimate Guide to Backpage Ads (1st ed.). New York: Amazon Digital Services. p. 38. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  9. ^ Nedelman, Michael (April 10, 2018). “After Craigslist personals go dark, sex workers fear what’s next”. CNN.
  10. ^ Levin, Sam (January 10, 2017). “Backpage’s halt of adult classifieds will endanger sex workers, advocates warn”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  11. ^
    Manuel Gamiz Jr. (July 12, 2014). “Website fuels surge in prostitution, police say”. The Morning Call. Retrieved January 29, 2017. was formed in 2004, but didn’t factor much in vice investigations until its adult services section flooded with ads around 2010, the same year Craigslist stopped its adult section.
  12. ^
    Roy S. Johnson (January 25, 2017). “Sex Trafficking Victim Sues, Choice Hotels”. Retrieved January 29, 2017. Last September, however, the Supreme Court in Washington state ruled 6-3 that a 2012 suit against by three Washington teenaged girls who were allegedly trafficked on the site, could proceed, in what turned out to be a preliminary blow against the site. Backpage was seized by the federal government on April 6, 2018.
  13. ^ “Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 27, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Jump up to: a b Feyerick, Deborah; Steffen, Sheila (May 10, 2012). “A lurid journey through”. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  15. ^ Jump up to: a b Irvine, Martha (August 16, 2015). “Backpage ad site: Aider of traffickers, or way to stop them?”. Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Fisher, Daniel. “Backpage Takes Heat, But Prostitution Ads Are Everywhere”. Forbes. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  17. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (January 25, 2012). “Opinion | How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Ruvolo, Julie (June 26, 2012). “Sex, Lies and Suicide: What’s Wrong with the War on Sex Trafficking”. Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  19. ^ Charles, J.B. (November 17, 2016). “America’s top online brothel a critical tool for law enforcement”. TheHill. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  20. ^ “Washington State Drops Defense of Unconstitutional Sex Trafficking Law”. Electronic Frontier Foundation. December 6, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  21. ^ Reitman, Rainey (July 6, 2015). “Caving to Government Pressure, Visa and MasterCard Shut Down Payments to”. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  22. ^ (United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle December 10, 2012). Text
  23. ^ Backpage v Dart (United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit October 23, 2015). Text
  24. ^ Jump up to: a b c Masnick, Mike (February 8, 2016). “20 Years Ago Today: The Most Important Law On The Internet Was Signed, Almost By Accident”. Techdirt. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  25. ^ Goldman, Eric (July 30, 2016). “Overzealous Legislative Effort Against Online Child Prostitution Ads at Backpage Fails, Providing a Big Win for User-Generated Content”. Forbes. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  26. ^ “Exposing”. Fitzgibbon Media. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  27. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (November 1, 2014). “Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  28. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (March 17, 2012). “Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  29. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (March 31, 2012). “Financers and Sex Trafficking”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  30. ^ “What Nick Kristof Didn’t Tell You in his Sunday Column about”. Village Voice. March 21, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  31. ^ Francescani, Chris; Nadia Damouni (September 24, 2012). “Village Voice newspaper chain to split from controversial ad site”. Reuters. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  32. ^ Jump up to: a b Hardy, Michael (December 14, 2017). “Requiem for an Alt-Weekly”. Texas Observer. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  33. ^ Kezar, Korri (December 30, 2014), sold to Dutch company for undisclosed amount, Dallas: Dallas Business Journal, retrieved December 1, 2015
  34. ^ Jump up to: a b Ehrlich, Paul (January 1, 2002). “Communications Decency Act 230”. Berkeley Technology Law Journal. 17 (1). Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  35. ^ Jump up to: a b Lynch, Sarah N. (April 9, 2018). “ founders, others indicted on prostitution-related charges”. Reuters. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  36. ^ Amatulli, Jenna; Reilly, Ryan J. (April 9, 2018). “ Founders Indicted For Facilitating Prostitution On Site”. HuffPost Canada. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  37. ^ Whitcomb, Dan. “Woman sues Facebook, claims site enabled sex trafficking”. U.S. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  38. ^ “Wisconsin man found guilty of sex trafficking on now-defunct…” Reuters. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  39. ^ “Florida man imprisoned for trafficking girl, 14, via”. Reuters. April 30, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  40. ^ “Backpage CEO to appear in Houston court on prostitution bust”. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  41. ^ “Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Criminal Charges Against Senior Corporate Officers of for Profiting from Prostitution and Arrest of Carl Ferrer, CEO”. State of California – Department of Justice – Kamala D. Harris Attorney General. October 6, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  42. ^ Mele, Christopher (October 6, 2016). “C.E.O. of, Known for Escort Ads, Is Charged with Pimping a Minor”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  43. ^ “ raided, CEO arrested for sex-trafficking”. The Big Story. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  44. ^ Hamilton, Matt. “Backpage says criminal charges by Kamala Harris are ‘election year stunt. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  45. ^ “ CEO Will Fight Sex Trafficking Charges, Lawyer Says”. CBS Los Angeles. October 7, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  46. ^
    James C. Grant (October 17, 2016). “The Honorable Kamala D. Harris Re: People v. Ferrer, et al., Case No. 16FE019224 (Sup. Ct., Sacramento County)” (PDF). Davis Wright Tremaine. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  47. ^ California vs Ferrar, et al (Cal. Super December 9, 2016) (“Congress has precluded liability for online publishers for the action of publishing third party speech and thus provided for both a foreclosure from prosecution and an affirmative defense at trial. Congress has spoken on this matter and it is for Congress, not this Court, to revisit.”). Text
  48. ^
    “California v. Ferrer” (PDF). December 23, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  49. ^ Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations v. Ferrer, __ F.Supp.3d ___, 2016 WL 4179289, Misc. Action No. 16-mc-621 (RMC) (D.D.C. August 16, 2016).
  50. ^ Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 137 S. Ct. 1 (Mem.), 195 L.E.2d 900, 85 USLW 3075 (Sep 6, 2016),
  51. ^ Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 137 S. Ct. 28 (Mem.), 195 L.E.2d 901, 85 USLW 3084 (Sep 13, 2016).
  52. ^
    “’s knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking” (PDF). United States Senate, PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  53. ^ Neidig, Harper (January 10, 2017). “Senators blast Backpage executives as site closes adult section”. TheHill. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  54. ^ “ shuts down adult services ads after relentless pressure from authorities”. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  55. ^ “Backpage Kills Adult Ads On The Same Day Supreme Court Backed Its Legal Protections, Due To Grandstanding Senators”. Techdirt. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  56. ^ “Court Shows SESTA Is Not Needed: Says Backpage Can Lose Its CDA 230 Protections If It Helped Create Illegal Content”. Techdirt. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  57. ^ “Yet Another Court Says Victims Don’t Need SESTA/FOSTA To Go After Backpage”. Techdirt. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  58. ^ Brice, Makini; Mason, Jeff; Oatis, Jonathan (April 11, 2018). “Trump signs law to punish websites for sex trafficking”. Reuters. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  59. ^ Jump up to: a b Bhardwaj, Prachi (April 9, 2018). “ executives have been charged with a 93-count federal indictment that alleges conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and money laundering”. Business Insider. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  60. ^ Heater, Brian (April 9, 2018). “DOJ issues 93-count indictment against Backpage over sex ads – TechCrunch”. TechCrunch. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  61. ^ Thomson, Iain (April 12, 2018). “ swoop: Seven bods hit with 93 charges as AG Sessions blasts alleged child sex trafficking cyber-haven”. The Register. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  62. ^ Polti, Daniel (April 7, 2018). “Feds Seize, Slap Charges on Founder of Site Accused of Profiting From Prostitution”. Slate.
  63. ^ “Federal Backpage Indictment Shows SESTA Unnecessary, Contains Zero Sex Trafficking Charges”. Techdirt. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  64. ^ “The feds have seized classifieds website Backpage”. The Verge. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  65. ^ Tanfani, Joseph. “Federal authorities take down, site accused of being a haven for online prostitution”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  66. ^ “DOJ Seizes And Shuts Down (Before SESTA Has Even Been Signed)”. Techdirt. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  67. ^ “Exclusive: Report gives glimpse into murky world of U.S…” Reuters. April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  68. ^ Jackman, Tom (April 13, 2018). “Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer pleads guilty in three states, agrees to testify against other website officials”. The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  69. ^ Jump up to: a b “ and its CEO plead guilty in California and Texas”. Los Angeles Times. April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  70. ^ Jump up to: a b Kreps, Daniel (April 12, 2018). “Backpage CEO Pleads Guilty to Charges, Assists in Federal Investigation”. Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  71. ^ Jump up to: a b Chamberlain, Samuel (April 12, 2018). “, CEO plead guilty in California, Texas and Arizona”. Fox News. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  72. ^ Jackman, Tom (August 1, 2017). “Senate launches bill to remove immunity for websites hosting illegal content, spurred by“. Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.
  73. ^ “Secret Memos Show the Government Has Been Lying About Backpage All Along”. August 26, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  74. ^ Reason Magazine, Katherine Mangu-Ward. “Backpage DOJ 2012 Memo”. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  75. ^ Reason Magazine, Katherine Mangu-Ward. “Backpage DOJ 2013 Memo”. Retrieved June 3, 2020.

Leave a Reply