State AGs Demand That Craigslist Pull Plug on Adult Services Section

woman shocked surprised laptopCraigslist's adult services ad section is facing heat again as law enforcement officials from 17 states sent a letter Tuesday demanding the online classifieds giant immediately pull the plug on its triple-X area.

The joint-letter from 17 state attorneys general is just the latest move by the states over the past couple of years to restrain a section of the site that authorities allege is touting prostitution and trafficking of children. The letter also signals heightened frustration by authorities, who say Craigslist has failed to comply with its 2008 agreement to rigorously monitor the section so as to prevent the "facilitation of human trafficking, child exploitation, and other illegal activities," despite repeated requests by the states.

Estimated Revenues of $100 Million Last Year

In the letter sent to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster, the attorneys general state:
Your much-touted "manual review" of Adult Services ads has failed to yield any discernible reduction in obvious solicitations. We recognize that Craigslist may lose the considerable revenue generated by the Adult Services ads. No amount of money can justify the scourge of illegal prostitution, and the suffering of the woman and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist.
Last year, the privately held Craigslist pulled in an estimated $100 million in revenues for its entire site. And the company generates more than 20 billion page views a month from its largely free online classified ads.

The letter from the state AGs comes several months after Connecticut Attorney General Richard subpoenaed Craigslist, seeking information on the steps the company was taking to monitor adult services ads and whether it was profiting from prostitution ads.

Public Pressure

Craigslist is apparently also feeling pressure from the public as well.

Last month, two girls claiming they were trafficked for sex via Craigslist published an "open letter" to the company in an ad in the Washington Post, according to a statement by Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, one of the 17 state AGs who signed the joint letter.

And just last week, a man dubbed the "Craigslist Killer" was found dead of an apparent suicide inside his jail cell, according to an ABC News report. Philip Markoff was arrested and awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the death of a masseuse who had posted a Craigslist ad offering a "sexual release" massage. Markoff also allegedly robbed a Las Vegas hooker and a Rhode Island exotic dancer who had both posted ads on Craigslist.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported fewer than 50 referrals since Craigslist entered into its 2008 agreement, Six noted, citing a CNN report earlier this month.

"Only Craigslist has the power to stop these ads before they are even published, and sadly they are completely unwilling to do so," Six said. "We continue to work to bring these criminals to justice, but in the meantime the victimization of children continues."

Craigslist was not immediately available for comment.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

126 Comments

Filter by:
rhurley277

too bad people make a good thing bad, because i think this site is alright for a lot of stuff.

August 28 2010 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mckidsbook

Free speech ends when criminality begins. Put them out of business, if they can't control their product. Society has laws against prostitution, child pronography, sexual predator solicitation. Enforce them. If I did them I would be in COOK COUNTY jail. A man went to jail last week because he had a junky yard. Put Craigslist people under the jail.

August 28 2010 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

These lazy attorneys general should be thanking CL for making their jobs easier, not chastizing them for exercizing their Constitutional rights. The ****** who are stupid enough to advertise on CL would be "easy pickens" for them. Think about it; what if a hitman was posting ads offering to kill people for a designated price? Don't you think the Feds would be all over that? So c'mon you lazy, socialist-loving, Constitution-hating, "attorneys general"...get off your lazy asses and do your job. Craigslist makes it as easy as shooting fish in a barrel for you!

August 28 2010 at 2:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Oba

so those people responsible for the crimes are criminals. if not for exploiting cl they would have found another way to commit their crimes. hell, that's like saying because thousands of people are murdered each year by a gun we're got to outlaw all guns. and you know how far you'd get with that, don't you?

August 27 2010 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tomjanettravelin

I personally will not use CraigsList for any purpose -- It is clear they are in it only for the money, and have no morals or sense of community responsibility. If enough customers walk away, maybe they will reconsider.

August 27 2010 at 4:29 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tomjanettravelin's comment
Joan

I Agree!

August 28 2010 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrhi1

Damn i hope not thats where I get all my poota

August 27 2010 at 2:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Hotchkin

I don`t understand why so much time and effort is wasted on prostitution. Craigslist shouldn`t be the one to blame. The gov`t is. The same idiots that are coming down on Craigslist are the one`s to blame. It should be legalized. It can be controlled and taxed. They would all have to pass health exams. Who is an AG or any body to say who can and cannot have sex and with whom? It is a private issue and none of anyones business as it does not concern them. It is also the worlds oldest profession and will never go away. It is time to reap its benefits.

August 27 2010 at 1:19 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Daniel Hotchkin's comment
mrteddy9

DAN.... THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS THIS CLOWN WHO JUST LOST THE REPUB PRIMARY FOR GOVONER BILL McCLULLEN... WHO WANTS MANDNATORY MINIMUMS FOR NON VIOLENT OFFENDERS... HE WAS THE CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR RUDY GULIANI... A FAR RIGHT WING NUT WHO HAS NO UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN NATURE AND BOWS ONLY TO THE CORPERATIONS....

August 27 2010 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RITAEVE

I've been getting false request's on Craig's list from people wanting to buy items from me which I never listed.

August 27 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
DAN KILLION

just 1 more liberty taken away by the states ags...why not police your states own coruption??? wait i know the answer to that...mike cox from michigan is one of the biggest lieing crooks....now get off your ass and do your job mike...

August 27 2010 at 8:44 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pmur75

Dear Mr. President, Today I read an article by Dawn Kawmoto. It stated the following:Craigslist has failed to comply with its 2008 agreement to rigorously monitor the section so as to prevent the "facilitation of human trafficking, child exploitation, and other illegal activities," despite repeated requests by the states. See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/aThWv7 Several state attorney generals are working to remove this adult section. I believe the US Attorney General must also become involved. Too many lives are being lost or forever damaged because of Internet malevolence. Please investigate.

August 27 2010 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pmur75's comment
mckidsbook

Forward to The White House, Washington, DC. OR to WHITEHOUSE.GOV

August 28 2010 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply