September 6, 2010

Craigslist “˜Censors’ Adult Services Section

The popular online classifieds website Craigslist blocked the "adult services" portion of its U.S. site this weekend, replacing the section tab with a black and white label reading "censored" following controversy and legal pressure from state officials who claim the site was promoting prostitution.

The move did not appear to affect Craigslist's non-U.S. websites, which continued to display listings for erotic services.

Craigslist shut down the erotic services section of its U.S. site in May of 2009, replacing it with an "adult services" section.  The company vowed that all listings posted under the renamed section would be manually reviewed.

Craigslist is one of the Internet's most popular online classified websites, offering users free and paid advertising in a multitude of categories.

State law enforcement officials have long criticized the site for its erotic and adult services listings, saying the ads facilitate prostitution, including the exploitation and trafficking of sex workers.

Last month, 18 state attorneys wrote an open letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newark, urging them to remove the renamed adult services section.

"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," the state attorneys wrote.

"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."

Craigslist has not yet commented on the removal of its adult services section, but company representatives said Saturday a statement about the changes would come at a later time.


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