July 29 (UPI) -- Google will remove so-called "sugar daddy" apps from the Play Store, according to a new policy update.
The update, posted Wednesday to its inappropriate content policy, specifically prohibits compensated sexual relationships, also known as "sugar dating," or "sugar daddy" or "sugar mommy" or gender- neutral "sugar parent" relationships, will come into effect on Sept. 1.
Android Police first reported the change, impacting Android users who use such apps, noting that apps in the sugar dating category had well over a million downloads.
Such apps on the Google Play Store include Sugar Daddy, Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangement and Spoil, Engadget reported.
Google's Play Store had policy in place that prohibited apps that promoted "sex-related entertainment, escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation." The update expanded this ban to include "compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant ('sugar dating')."
Google did not explain why the sugar dating apps are being banned, but the move comes amid a crackdown on online sex work by platforms following the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act signed into law in 2018.
The 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, recently released by the U.S. Department of State, said human traffickers took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on vulnerable people.
Digital rights campaigners have said the law aimed at fighting online sex trafficking is too broad and has unintended consequences that undermine its purpose.