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The popular classified advertising Web site Craigslist, better known as a place to sell things and sublet apartments, has increasingly become a marketplace for prostitution, including sex trafficking of children, raising alarm among law enforcement and prosecutors. Law enforcement on all levels are investigating such cases, noting the Web gives them plenty of clues to follow and charges to pursue, including child pornography. Attorney Leonid Feller from Detroit, where an online prostitution ring that advertised in Milwaukee and other cities was recently busted.
San Francisco-based Craigslist doesn't allow illegal activity including prostitutionbut some public officials, including Connecticut's attorney general, say the company hasn't done enough to keep those off the site. A Craigslist spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company discourages prostitution by posting warnings, blocking that contain certain words, asking users to flag illegalcooperating with law enforcement and taking other precautions.
In another Milwaukee case, a man was sentenced last month to four years in prison for prostituting a year-old girl, also on Craigslist. Rufus Jackson, 28, also was charged with having sex with the girl.
In that case, Jackson took in the girl, also a runaway whose hometown was not listed. He began having sex with her and later forced her into prostitution, according to the criminal complaint.
Jackson took nude photos of the girl and posted them on Craigslist, it says. Jackson beat the girl and threatened her by putting a gun to her head, demanding she make more money in prostitution, it said.
She met men for sex at the Port Motel, W. Appleton Ave. When officers went to arrest Jackson at his home, he ran and fought officers, the complaint indicates. It was unclear Tuesday whether Jackson was connected to the case involving the year-old Onalaska girl.
Milwaukee police found that girl's ad on Craigslist offering oral sex and other acts. She also was advertised as working with another female whose age was not listed in the warrant. Like the year-old, detectives found the Onalaska girl at the Port Motel.
Around that time, 33 advertisements on Craigslist offered prostitution in the Milwaukee area, about half of them from the year-old girl, the warrant indicates. Police later arrested a year-old man who paid for computer time at Kinko's copy center, enabling the girl to post her ad on Craigslist, according to the warrant, which sought surveillance photos from Kinko's. That man, who also was prostituting himself, the warrant says, has not been charged.
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