advertisement

UPDATE: Missouri joins other states in asking Craigslist to get rid of adult services

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 6:00 p.m. CDT; updated 6:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 24, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craigslist should remove its adult services section because the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking, attorneys general in 17 states demanded Tuesday in a joint letter.

"Only Craigslist has the power to stop these ads before they are even published," said Kansas Attorney General Steve Six in a statement Tuesday. "Sadly, they are completely unwilling to do so."

The joint letter acknowledged that Craigslist faces the prospect of losing revenue if it were to remove the adult services section.

"No amount of money, however, can justify the scourge of illegal prostitution and the suffering of the women and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist," the letter said.

The San Francisco-based Craigslist did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages Tuesday.

Some of the encounters set up through Craigslist have ended in violence and even death, authorities have said.

Last week, authorities said a former medical student committed suicide in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial for allegedly killing a masseuse he had met through Craigslist. 

Philip Markoff, 24, was found unresponsive in his cell Aug. 15. A former Boston University student, Markoff had pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman of New York City and in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman. Both crimes happened at Boston hotels within four days in April 2009. Rhode Island prosecutors also accused him of attacking a stripper that week.

Markoff had met the women through advertisements for erotic services posted on Craigslist.

The website has put safeguards in place as it has evolved over the years.

In November 2008, after pressure from 40 state attorneys general, Craigslist required posters to provide a working phone number and pay a fee for placing an ad in the erotic services section.

In May 2009, the website renamed erotic services to adult services and said it would adopt a manual screening process, where postings would be reviewed before publishing.

But state officials believe Craigslist is still not doing enough to stop illegal ads from appearing.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal subpoenaed Craigslist in May, asking the website to provide proof it was holding up its promise to help stop ads for prostitution.

Craigslist should provide its evidence in a few weeks, said a spokeswoman for the Connecticut attorney general's office.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley released a separate letter Tuesday that was sent to Craigslist officials and also called for the removal of adult services.

"You should continue to build on your success in connecting users to each other and providing a forum for the exchange of legal goods and services," she said Tuesday.

The 17 states whose attorneys general signed the letter are: Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements