Craigslist: Adult Services Section Closed for Good

For the first time since Craigslist suddenly blocked sex ads 12 days ago, the company is talking about the decision. William Clint Powell, director of customer service and law enforcement relations at Craigslist, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Powell promised the Adult Services Section will not re-open.  This could cost his company an estimated $44 million in annual revenue, according to The New York Times

Child advocates fighting the epidemic of child prostitution in Georgia and across the country are cheering the decision. According to Kaffie McCullough, campaign director for A Future Not A Past, “[Craigslist is] definitely the market leader in [prostitution] and as they go, others may go.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R- NJ) called the move “the responsible thing to do for the sake of the children.”

Powell warned that people who posted prostitution ads on Craigslist will move to other websites.  As cnet.com reports, he said Craigslist has done more to deal with legal and safety concerns than any other venue, calling it “one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation.”

Congress to Grill Craigslist on Sex Ads – GA Advocates Applaud

Advocates fighting the child prostitution problem in Atlanta are cautiously optimistic about Wednesday’s congressional hearing targeting Craigslist. The world’s largest online ad service is sending William Clint Powell, the director of customer service and law enforcement relations for Craigslist, to answer questions from the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee about adult ads and the role that online services play in child prostitution. “[Craigslist is] definitely the market leader in [prostitution] and as they go, others may go,” said Kaffie McCullough, campaign director of Atlanta’s A Future Not a Past. The group is fighting the child prostitution problem in Georgia with research, intervention, and education while pushing for prosecution of pimps and johns. Under growing pressure from attorneys general across the country, Craigslist deactivated its adult services section in the U.S. on September 3, but the section remains open in other countries.

Child Prostitution Ads Censored on Craigslist

Craigslist has deactivated its controversial adult services section, under pressure from attorneys general in 17 states. The giant online ad service has been hammered for posting ads that sell underage girls for prostitution. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that erotic services links are covered with the word “censored” for locations inside the U.S., but still active outside the U.S.

The Attorneys General sent a scathing letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark.  Here’s an excerpt:
The increasingly sharp public criticism of Craigslist’s Adult Services section reflects a growing recognition that ads for prostitution — including ads trafficking children — are rampant on it. In our view, the company should take immediate action to end the misery for the women and children who may be exploited and victimized by these ads.

17 States Fight Craigslist "Adult Services"

Attorneys General in 17 states have teamed up to try to get rid of the Craigslist’s “adult services” section, according to a CNN report. As we reported earlier this month, the popular “adult services” section has been scrutinized because of ads that exploit women and underage girls.  The attorneys general addressed Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark in a scathing letter on Tuesday. The increasingly sharp public criticism of Craigslist’s Adult Services section reflects a growing recognition that ads for prostitution — including ads trafficking children — are rampant on it. They go on to highlight an open letter that two girls wrote to Craigslist in July about being trafficked through the site.  The Attorneys also mention CNN Amber Lyon’s report which questions Craigslist’s screening methods. A Craigslist representative told CNN that they agree with some of the letter and hope to work with the attorneys general to stop child and women trafficking.

Craigslist Sex Ad Investigation

The internet has become the favorite place to sell women for sex, according to a CNN report. Now there is a national campaign against Craigslist and its popular “adult services” section. Police and anti- sex trafficking groups are pushing to end the “adult services” ads, arguing that underage girls are being exploited. “Craigslist is like the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking right now in this country,” said Andrea Powell of the anti-trafficking group The Fair Fund. Watch CNN reporter Amber Lyon grill Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, about sex ad’s on his site.

Craigslist stuns child advocates

New details are out about the child sex trade in Georgia.  An estimated 7,200 men are paying for sex with teenage girls every month in this state, according to a study called “Men Who Buy Sex with Adolescent Girls: A Scientific Research Study.” Highlights came out in May, but the full study, released Thursday, sheds new light on the crisis. While state leaders and advocacy groups are trying to get hold of the problem, it appears no one is more concerned about the report than Craigslist, the online classified ad giant.  Craigslist attorneys have sent a Cease and Desist letter to the Women’s Funding Network, a national partner of the Atlanta campaign called A Future Not a Past, which commissioned the study. The legal warning letter alleges the Women’s Funding Network defamed Craigslist, and distributed false information about the company, by releasing highlights of the Georgia study.  The study claims “Craigslist is by far the most efficient medium for advertising sex with young females; ads on this site received 3 times as many responses compared to identical ads placed on other sites.”

A spokesman for both the Women’s Funding Network, based in San Francisco, and Atlanta’s A Future Not a Past campaign were shocked by the Craigslist demand letter, which arrived June 7.  In response, they sent Craigslist the full study yesterday, and asked for a sit-down meeting.  They say Craigslist declined.