America’s Top Brothel has long been the Amazon Prime of prostitution. Now it could close for good—and some say that’s a bad thing.
Norma Manzo and Greg Reese work to set up a "date" with a person who advertised on They are in a team of about a dozen people who reach out to young women engaged in the commercial sex industry.
11_18_Backpage_01 Source: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/Getty

When Natalie ran away from home, she left behind a letter for her parents, telling them not to worry. The 15-year-old, Seattle-area native would be gone only a short while, she wrote six years ago, “long enough for me to find myself.” Her brother had just left for college, her father, Tom, says, and “Natalie was looking for attention.”

She found it, but not in the way she’d hoped. Before she left, Natalie was a prototypical American kid; she liked playing soccer and watching Harry Potter movies. She had never been away from home for more than a day. But while she was gone, she met a pimp who forced her to have sex with him. It was her first time.

After nine days, Natalie escaped to the authorities, who called up her parents and reunited them hours later in a police department parking lot. Her mother didn’t recognize her. The girl’s long brown hair was now short and dyed red. But it wasn’t just her appearance that seemed off. “Everything about her changed,” says her mother, Nacole, who asked Newsweek to use a pseudonym for her daughter and not print the family’s last name, to protect their privacy. The once gregarious teen became afraid to go out in public. “She was

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek13 min readPolitics
Will Donald Trump’s Booming Economy Go Bust?
The stock market is booming, unemployment is at its lowest since 1969, and consumer confidence is high. “The economy is soooo good,” President Trump claimed. So why are his approval ratings in the toilet? Here’s what lies beneath the numbers.
Newsweek12 min read
Sebastian Kurz Remaking Europe's Future From Dark Past
Young Austrians see themselves in their 32-year-old chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, a conservative populist with big ambitions. In championing him, they also flirt with the country’s dangerous past.
Newsweek2 min read
Photographer Eva Sereny Captured Sets Of Iconic Films
Sereny was one of the only female set photographers in the ’70s, and worked with every major director, from Bernardo Bertolucci to Steven Spielberg.