September 8, 2010

Craigslist Maintaining Silence In Adult Services Row

Craigslist, who over the weekend placed a "censored" tab over the "adult services" section of its website, has yet to officially commented on the move, according to recent media reports.

The San Francisco, California-based online classified advertisement network's silence comes despite growing pressure from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others to officially confirm that the controversial classified ads section is gone for good.

On Tuesday, Blumenthal told Everton Bailey Jr. of the Associated Press (AP) that he had sent a letter to officials at the website asking them to state, once and for all, that they will no longer carry erotic or adult services ads on any of their American websites while also stepping up efforts to snuff out posts promoting prostitution and/or child trafficking.

"In apparent response to pressure and appeals from attorneys general, advocacy groups, victims and public outrage, Craigslist has shut down the Adult Services Section of its website," Blumenthal said Tuesday in a statement, according to AFP. "This step is exactly what we requested, and I commend Craigslist for heeding our call, but significant questions remain."

"Our message to Craigslist is to put people above profit," the Connecticut attorney general later added at a press conference. "Sacrifice the money if necessary. Clearly make a public promise that you are shutting down adult services and set a model for the industry in using screening and filtering technology."

Also on Tuesday, a quartet of four anti-child trafficking groups-- the Polaris Project, the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, FAIR Fund and Courtney's House--released a statement of their own asking Craigslist to also eliminate the adult services section on websites outside of the U.S.

"While this is a good first step in the U.S., there are still more than 250 other Craigslist 'erotic' pages around the world where children and young women are still being sold for sex through Craigslist," the statement from the four Washington D.C. based organizations said, according to Bailey.

The black-and-white colored "censored" bar replaced the "adult services" section hyperlink on Saturday, roughly two weeks after Blumenthal and 16 other state attorney generals first wrote to Craigslist seeking its removal.

Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster responded to the request in an August 30 blog post, stating that the website was "committed to being socially responsible, and when it comes to adult services ads" and noting that they were "working intensively as I write this with experts and thought leaders at leading non-profits and among law enforcement on further substantive measures we can take."


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