Editor's note : Watch an update on the investigation into Craigslist's adult services section on AC tonight at 10 p. On a late afternoon in early June, undercover police officers circled a one-story highway motel north of Washington. Inside was a year-old girl who told her mother she was being forced to work as a prostitute. According to her mother, the girl had started running away from home earlier this year.
She found out her daughter was in the sex trade when she saw her in an adult online classified ad. The girl was advertising herself as a year-old with a bogus name. The next time she ran away, her mother reported her missing. Read the police press release. According to police and anti-trafficking advocates, the internet has now become the preferred way to sell women for sex. It's fast and convenient for the pimps and relatively safe for the men who pay for sex.
Instead of trolling the streets, they can now look through hundreds of girls from the safety of their homes or hotels. This time, the girl was lucky. She called home, and the call was traced to a Knight's Inn in Laurel, Maryland, where police were quickly on the scene. They rescued the girl and arrested a year-old man and charged him with human trafficking.
Of all the sites that offer "adult services," Craigslist is one of the most popular. The online classified ad site is used regularly by about 50 million Americans for everything from buying used lawn furniture to finding a job or a roommate.
It's also used to sell sex, making Craigslist a prime target of a nationwide campaign against internet prostitution. According to police who investigated the case of the missing year-old, she had ly advertised on Craigslist under a false name and age. Craigslist declined to provide copies of the ad, citing privacy concerns.
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark defended his site, saying it is doing more than any other site that hosts adult to help filter out underage prostitutes and report them to police. Please don't let me and others down.
Great report by Amber Lyon! I would love to know what percentage of Craigslist's profits come from the "Adult Section" as compared to the other sections. I have a feeling they make a lot of money from those "Adult" links. Roxanne, ".
The adult section needs to be shut down. Unfortunately, I don't think that will happen unless concerned citizens take action. Flagging the inappropriate content is a good place to start. Then contact the police and tell them you flagged the ad and the ad is still up.
Don't bother waiting for Craigslist to do something about it. If the ad's location is D. Another area?
Contact that area's local police. What an unfunny joke. There have been numerous cases in the news about underage girls who escape their pimps and tell tales of street abduction leading to having to service men who responded to the pimp's Craigslist escort. The posturing by Craigslist on this issue is their typical lip-service.
The best way for them For Cyber Flag Day last March, we and our volunteers flagged thousands of Craigslist escort in dozens of major cities. Do they dare to profess that none of the had underaged enslaved girls on the other end?
In Orlando, The M. Metroploitan Burea Of Investigation has been stonewalled time and again whenever they have asked Craigslist to remove the Adult Services category. It's time for Craigslist to be held able by the Feds. That's a highly dishonest insinuation.
The adult section needs to be shut down and REAL screening needs to happen.
This is a sick thing to allow to continue on CL. Craig and anybody working with him should be ashamed. I don't think of this nature should be allowed; period.
Even if the woman is doing it of her own free will, for fun, this 'service' becomes a pervert's dreamworld, not to mention a serial killer's dream come true see the boston case Hello Put your clothes on and get a real job. A couple comments.
He worked for IBM, and was part of the local science fiction fan group, where I knew him. He's a good guy, kind and considerate and a bit shy sometimes. I've ed him since, and he's not changed. The list started just as a hobby for his friends, and it's success caught him quite by surprise. He no longer runs it. Not his forte.
Craig works with customer service and the like. Anyway, the thing to remember about CL, which wasn't at all apparent in your video report is that it's a tiny company. They all work out of an old converted house in San Francisco.
This isn't some company with armies of staff who can jump on everything. In large part, the whole setup is that the list is self policing and mostly automated. Users who object to an ad flag it, and enough flags get an ad deleted.
It works well in almost all other than the adult stuff. That category is a distinct problem, to be sure. On the one hand is the desire to protect first amendment freedoms, while also respecting the law and the welfare of society, especially as regards things like underage prostitution or other especially nasty misuses of the list. But given the sheer size of the whole CL world, it's a difficult nut to crack.
Yes, they try to screen everything, but it's obviously a harder thing to do consistently than it sounds, especially given the speed of the list updates and the size of both the list and the small size of sfaff. And they cannot just delete the adult catagory, or all those posters simply move over to the main and free personals which is where they all were before CL created the separate category. Your report says the local law enforcement never gets reports. Well, how come they can't themselves, if they wish, also read those sameand address the ones that seem too much in violation of the law or promoting trafficking?
It's their city too. CL doesn't have more info to screen with than the show.
By creating the adult category, they did at least do what most adult sites also do, and that is to verify the age of the person placing the ad. By charging a fee, they get credit card or other identifying info on posters. One would hope that this would, by itself, greatly reduce the abuse.
And, if an ad is in violation, that identity info is available to law enforcement through proper legal channels. What else would you have them do? Totally eliminate any ad with any word even remotely suggestive of sex?
Hire dozens of people in every city served by CL to screen everything? And how would they determine which are legit or not? The abusers are great at adapting their to fit any guidelines. Your report noted photos of girls in underwear. You see the same in some of the legit personals and more. Look at the casual "women for women" category where lesbian girls are looking to hook up.
You'll see a lot more explicit photos there Heck, you see similar photos on facebook and myspace too. So what then? The words "young".
Do you know any women who don't wish to appear youthful? How about prices?
Well, most of those already are veiled behind words like "roses" instead of dollars. And it remains legal for a person to market his or her services as a social escort which does not always mean sexso long as prostitution isn't advertised.
So how to tell those apart? Yes, prostitution and especially trafficking of women and underage girls is a major problem and needs to be addressed. But don't be so quick to just blame Craigslist. The list may be currently a favored place to advertise, but the problem long predates the list, and is not confined to there. If the list dealt with it somehow, it would simply move somewhere else. On the whole, I enjoy AC's coverage and reports. But please be careful to avoid the sort of totally aggressive and one sided reporting that seems so prevailant these days, especially on Fox. ZIP: 30224 30223