September 16, 2010

Adult Services Section Officially Shut Down: Craigslist

After two weeks of silence, Craigslist confirmed Wednesday that the popular Internet classifieds website had shut down all of its "adult services" listings.

William Powell, director of customer service and law enforcement relations for Craigslist, said the company "has terminated its adult services section" as of September 3, 2010.

Powell said in testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security that those who had previously "posted adult services ads on Craigslist will now advertise at countless other venues."

Powell told the subcommittee that he sincerely hoped that "law enforcement and advocacy groups will find helpful partners" at those other sites. The committee is holding a hearing on the sexual trafficking of minors.

The remarks made by Powell were the first from Craigslist after the abrupt termination of the link to its adult services section on September 3, replacing the link with a single word: "censored." The word was removed a few days later and the adult services section of the site had disappeared.

It was not known at the time if the adult services section was removed worldwide, or just in the United States.

Craigslist has been under fire for months from state law enforcement over adult service ads, accusing the company that the ads facilitated prostitution. Powell noted the various efforts the company has made to monitor adult service ads, including prescreening all submissions and working with attorney generals, law enforcement and non-governmental organizations.

"Craigslist has been one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation," said Powell.


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