General Gansler Joins 16 Other Attorneys General in Calling on
Craigslist to Eliminate Adult Services Section
MD ( August 24, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler and sixteen other state attorneys general are calling
on craigslist to immediately take down the Adult Services portion
of its website due to continued prostitution advertisements
and growing public frustration.
The multi-state letter,
to craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark,
contends that craigslist cannot – or will
not – adequately screen these ads, so it should stop accepting
them altogether and shut down the Adult Services section.
“Ads for prostitution, including ads trafficking children,
continue to be a grave problem on craigslist,” Attorney General
Gansler said. “While the company has made progress in blocking
such ads, it is unfortunately not enough. More must be done to
combat the human exploitation that these ads foster.” The
call to craigslist to halt its Adult Services section, he said,
was a necessary next step.
“Your much-touted ‘manual review’ of Adult Services
ads has failed to yield any discernable reduction in obvious solicitations,” the
letter says. “We recognize that craigslist may lose the considerable
revenue generated by the Adult Services ads,” the attorneys
general said. “No amount of money, however, 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.”
Craigslist remains a hot spot for prostitution ads, despite efforts
it has made, since its 2008 public pledge to attorneys general,
to better police its own website.
In July 2010, two girls
who said that they were trafficked for sex through craigslist
wrote an “open letter” to craigslist
officials, pleading for the elimination of the Adult Services section.
The girls’ poignant account told a horrific story of brutalization
and assault suffered not just by them, but also by untold numbers
of other children, the attorneys general said.
The attorneys general
call recent blog posts and public statements from Buckmaster
and Newmark, including a CNN interview, “deeply
troubling” because they seem to imply that victims, law enforcement
officials and children’s advocates are at least partially
to blame for these incidents due to their failure to provide craigslist
with police reports, ad copy, or links documenting these heinous
In the letter, the
attorneys general said that this position fails to acknowledge
that craigslist is the only party positioned to
stop these ads before they are published. While the perpetrators
may eventually be apprehended and brought to justice, the victims – assuming
they survive – will carry the scars for life, the attorneys
The letter can be viewed here.