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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Joins 16 Other Attorneys General in Calling on Craigslist to Eliminate Adult Services Section

BALTIMORE, 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 crimes.

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 general said.

The letter can be viewed here.

   

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