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Craigslist Powers Down Adult-Services

by Winston Sih | September 15, 2010September 15, 2010 2:58 pm PDT

After increased concerns that Craigslist is facilitating child prostitution, a representative of the ex-personal listings site Craigslist confirmed in remarks prepared for hearing in Congress that it will not be reopening the “adult services” section on its site.

Craigslist’s director of customer service and law enforcement relations, William Clint Powell said in a hearing that going after Craigslist would not do any good as “those who formerly posted adult services ads on Craigslist will now advertise at countless other venues.” Still, he said, the adult-ad section will not be reopening.

CEO Jim Buckmaster commented to this situation by providing this statement:

“We are grateful to (Virginia Rep. Robert Scott, subcommittee chairman) and all members of the subcommittee for inviting representatives of Craigslist to speak at today’s hearing,” the statement from Buckmaster read. “Craigslist has long collaborated with attorneys general, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and other concerned parties in this regard, and we look forward to assisting the subcommittee as it considers the role Internet sites should play in combating domestic minor sex trafficking. Although Craigslist recently removed its adult-services advertising classification, we gladly offer our key learnings to the subcommittee and to all interested advertising venues regarding best practices.”

Craigslist kept “adult services”–originally a section called “erotic services” that was modified last year–segregated from the rest of the site so that they would not be interspersed with its other listings, and so that it would be easier to keep an eye on legal and safety issues that may arise with the content, specifically to prevent crimes like child prostitution, according to Powell.

“To our knowledge, no other venue has adopted these best practices and, in fact, very few venues have adopted more than one of these measures,” Powell’s prepared statements read. “Indeed, Craigslist has been one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation.”


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