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Do you agree with Craigslist's decision?

Craigslist, the Internet's iconic ad bazaar, has stopped allowing U.S. users to access its "adult services" ads. It's unclear, for now, whether the change is a temporary statement or a signal that Craigslist will stop allowing the ads.

By Local Editors  |  September 4, 2010; 8:53 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Consenting adults regularly accept all kinds of other forms of compensation for sex, yet the second it's in the form of money nosy busybodies have a fit...

This is a distinction that makes no sense whatsoever and should be done away with.

Posted by: toiletminded | September 4, 2010 9:43 PM

I would argue that women are exploited more in places like the USA where prostitution is illegal than in other countries--because where it's a crime it tends to be operated by, obviously, criminals. I live in Chile and there as with most of South American prostitution is legal (as are some drugs). The hookers there even have their own web site (no need for craigslist). Most of the women do it because they can make a lot of money. The emphasis on the human rights groups there is to keep children out of the business and not to shut it down all together. The USA has their victorian legal system because of the church (no one goes to Church much in other countries either) and because we do whatever the human rights groups (particularly the feminists) advocate because we see ourselves as the pillar of human rights. But in this case the prohibitonist policy is wrongheaded. Some women are exploited in bad marriages but we don't outlaw all marriages, do we?

Posted by: werowe1 | September 4, 2010 10:15 PM

I disagree with the decision.

a) Now the sewage will leak onto every other Craigslist section, particularly the heretofore non sexual personals. Better to direct the sewage into one place so the rest of us can ignore it.

b) The category gave law enforcement a great tool for monitoring and cracking down on prostitution.

c) This is simply political grand standing by the state Attorney Generals. This is not the first time Blumenthal has directed orders at Craiglist. Previously he ordered Craigslist to charge for the section. Craigslist abided. Then Blumenthal feigned outrage that craigslist made money off the section. Well duh, idiot, you ordered them to charge money.

d) This won't cure the problem. Sex ads will pop up elsewhere. More diffuse, harder for police to monitor, but easy enough for hookers and johns to find each other.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | September 4, 2010 10:19 PM

You can't stop these ads......it would ruin the repubs in congress biggest recreational pass time.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | September 4, 2010 10:24 PM

This kind of grandstanding by state AGs will continue; the fact that our states' chief prosecutors are ELECTED means that they'll always feel pressure to pull publicity stunts like this.

A smarter electorate would vote out anyone who abused their elected office in this way, but in America, we fall for it every time.

Posted by: kcx7 | September 4, 2010 10:29 PM

I'm glad they took this step. If it prevents just one person from being a victim of human trafficking, it was worth it!

Posted by: july3 | September 4, 2010 10:32 PM

While Craislist is the most well-known web site for these types of ads, they are not the only one. If the state AGs are serious about cracking down on this stuff, they should also go after backpage.com. I think of the comparison years ago by Penthouse vs. Playboy. Backpage is Craigslist's Penthouse.

Posted by: marrekech1 | September 4, 2010 10:32 PM

First Amendment applies to all, even the "others" that "some" want silenced.

Posted by: theamerican | September 4, 2010 10:46 PM

I'm glad they took this step. If it prevents just one person from being a victim of human trafficking, it was worth it!

Posted by: july3 | September 4, 2010 10:32 PM
------------------------------
This makes so much sense! I 100% totally agree with you july3.

Based on your thinking I've started a campaign to save the babies killed in car accidents. There are so many killed every year! If we can save just 1 it will be worth it. The solution is to end all motor vehicle traffic! No cars, no babies killed in car accidents! YEAH!!!

Sigh....

Posted by: streff | September 4, 2010 11:17 PM

I'm glad they took this step. If it prevents just one person from being a victim of human trafficking, it was worth it!

Posted by: july3 | September 4, 2010 10:32 PM


---------

Ten percent of the people in nightclubs each night drinking alcohol are underage. We should shut down all nightclubs. Just one kid saved from drinking would make it worthwhile.

Posted by: RickJohnson621 | September 4, 2010 11:43 PM

This is exciting. On the same day that we read about the filthy "Focus on the Family" attack on sexual expression in China, the Washington Post does an article about increased anti-sexual restrictions here -- and most of the readers are angry about the coverage.

Good news. Our grandchildren will grow up in a world that recognizes religionism as the hateful, anti-humanist fraud that it is.

Instead of praying, have sex with somebody. It's always a better idea.

Posted by: mitt1968 | September 5, 2010 12:01 AM

PICKNOSE SAID:

Ten percent of the people in nightclubs each night drinking alcohol are underage. We should shut down all nightclubs. Just one kid saved from drinking would make it worthwhile.

====================================

Like hell it would. Better to teach those kids that indulging oneself in pleasure is the main point of this world.

Posted by: mitt1968 | September 5, 2010 12:02 AM

why do these polls never have the "don't givvasht" option?

Posted by: eezmamata | September 5, 2010 1:13 AM

"I would argue that women are exploited more in places like the USA where prostitution is illegal than in other countries--because where it's a crime it tends to be operated by, obviously, criminals"

So women can't be exploited unless prostitution is illegal? Good grief, how stupid can you be. Don't leave marks in the wall, ok?

I think it's a dumb decision becasue prostution is not the problem, "erotic ads" rae not the problem. The problem is the kidnapping, extortion and rape. CL is actually doing the world a favor by posting these ads. Instead of them showing up on some pediatricians secret website hosted on his office computer. Which, oh yeah! A pediatrician was just busted for that today. The day before a teacher in a private school, next week it'll be a cop or a judge. The girls that are forced to work the slave-trade, now they won't be so easy to find.

How can you not see that that cuts both ways?

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 5, 2010 2:07 AM

In our puritanical, hypocritical society here in the U.S.A., we are so very good at legislating morality and judging others in damning, damaging ways. In many case, the people that criminal laws and policies are created to “protect” become even more victimized by the law and its enforcement. The world is full of examples of countries that have, for the benefit of most women involved, legalized and regulated prostitution. One obvious benefit – women can solicit sex openly, without being controlled and abused by pimps. Seriously folks, let’s start this debate by accepting that prostitution will exist, whether it is legal and regulated, or illegal, forced underground and controlled by criminals. You don’t like prostitution? --- don’t go to one. Same with other “vices” – you don’t like alcohol, don’t go to bars.
Stay at home listening to Rush and do what he does in his free time – masturbate . . .mentally or physically. In the countries I have visited where prostitution is legal, the streets are not packed with scantily clad prostitutes. There are well known bars or specific areas where the business is confined. It is not in the faces of impressionable children. In these countries, woman control the terms of a date – location, price, etc., and no profits need to be shared with abusive thugs. If we want a fair and equitable society that recognizes the existence of the “oldest profession” in the fairest and healthiest way, we should legalize, regulate and tax prostitution. Moreover, in our world where terrorism and other very serious crime is an ever present threat, we do not have to waste precious, already overtaxed law enforcement resources arresting women trying to feed their children or men trying to fulfill a harmless fantasy in a private, secluded location. In such a world there could be very strict regulation to prevent abuse of children, and a regulatory focus on disease education and prevention . . . which, of course, is not a realistic expectation where prostitution is illegal and the women involved are in a daily struggle to keep a modest amount of money they earn and avoid the rages of abusive pimps.

Posted by: mpv59 | September 5, 2010 3:05 AM

I dont agree with Craig List stopping because if Craig List is responsible for this media then CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS should be responsible for all these lies we receive form our politicians and their funded organizations. More harm comes to our country from these lying ass dog so called leaders / pick pockets we have then some willing idiot trying to give a sexual favor. Our country is failing because we don't have one single honest person in government. Our country has come full circle. Maybe we need revisit our founding forefathers messages and do what they did.

Posted by: tacrey | September 5, 2010 3:16 AM

I don't see how this is a first amendment issue at all. Craigslist is a commercial enterprise, not a government entity, obviously trying to cut down on their potential legal liability by closing these sites. These ads have got to be very remunerative. Craigslist obviously doesn't want to spend the money monitoring these sites.

I don't think this action calls for comparisons to freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. An online ad company shuts down its commercial porn section and all of a sudden people are talking about Thomas Jefferson? Come on people.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | September 5, 2010 5:59 AM

I don't see how this is a first amendment issue at all. Craigslist is a commercial enterprise, not a government entity, obviously trying to cut down on their potential legal liability by closing these sites. These ads have got to be very remunerative. Craigslist obviously doesn't want to spend the money monitoring these sites.

I don't think this action calls for comparisons to freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. An online ad company shuts down its commercial porn section and all of a sudden people are talking about Thomas Jefferson? Come on people.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | September 5, 2010 6:00 AM

how will franks run his senate page prostitution service...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 5, 2010 6:13 AM

The fact the Craigslist had these ads for years, proves it was tolerated by society and the law enforcement agencies.

We all know that prostitution is the oldest profession, attempts at stopping it have always failed, everywhere in the world. Best to start to regulate instead of something that we cannot prohibit.

Posted by: justasking6 | September 5, 2010 9:04 AM

Craig's List closed its US adult section because its US users were using it to facilitate not just prostitution but sexual slavery, rape and child rape.

After trying, they discovered that they don't want to be in the business of policing a forum for that grave a misuse.

Posted by: Bill64738 | September 5, 2010 9:31 AM

This is yet another example of the absurd prissiness and political pandering of our state Attorneys General. As many have observed, we are the only country in western civilization that consistently and unnecessarily meddles in private sexual affairs. Silly and stupid efforts to restrict our freedom to sin simply enhance the attraction. Other advertising methods will simply grow, as will street side activity.
Craigslist itself should be criticized for caving in to these idiots. I hope it will reprise its role as one of the major protectors of internet freedom and get back to business. It was performing a public service and actually protecting sex workers to a greater degree than any of the self-righteous prigs that strive to shut adult services down.

Posted by: TheKahuna1 | September 5, 2010 9:47 AM

When you go to work 8 hours in a non-sexual job, you are still selling your body.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 5, 2010 9:48 AM

The article fails to note that Craigslist also quietly closed its "Adult Gigs" section, where advertisers posted for a variety of legitimate ventures such as nude modeling, erotic dancers, adult acting, massage, etc. There were, of course, some prostitution ads masquerading as adult gigs, and I presume Craigslist was afraid of the potential for massive spillover into that section with the closing of Adult Services. However, this is a real loss of a legitimate advertising and free speech venue. How could the Washington Post not highlighted this change as well.

Posted by: Little_John | September 5, 2010 9:59 AM

They should discontinue the ads. They promote vice, not "services."

We have seen TV programs showing that young women have been abducted or forced into prostitution, and the persons abducting them have used Craig's List to exploit their victims cruelly and repetitively to potential clients. In addition, young people could be lured into criminal acts or become the victims of criminals through such ads. Just my opinion.

Posted by: MyHouston | September 5, 2010 10:05 AM

So the argument about the ads is not really about whether prostitution itself is good or bad or should be legalized or not, but rather the argument hinges on a presumed necessary connection between ads for prostitution and two separate factors, violence against women and trafficking of underage prostitutes? This has to be disingenuous. Suppose those two other problems could be resolved by technical means such as a reputation system (these already exist online) or government regulation. Then would critics be satisfied? I think not. This whole affair reeks of moral panic generated by politicians seeking power and election, and desperate wild journalists seeking sensationalism. If a great newspaper such as The Post does not defend First Amendment rights here but encourages censorship, why should we defend The Post when it again defies the government to publish unwelcome news?

Posted by: joeshuren1 | September 5, 2010 10:25 AM

Craigslist or no, so-inclined men will always find a way to rape, mutilate and murder women.

Posted by: washpost16 | September 5, 2010 11:06 AM

I'm glad they took this step. If it prevents just one person from being a victim of human trafficking, it was worth it!
Posted by: july3 | September 4, 2010 10:32 PM
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I don't see how banning advertisements would prevent anyone from being a victim of human trafficking. Sexual activity won't continue because a Craigslist web page is down?

Posted by: smc91 | September 5, 2010 11:07 AM

This is a private business. They have the right to choose what business services/products they provide. End of story. The noise level on this topic is just another example of our collective ability to create extraneous controversies rather than address substantive problems in our country.

Posted by: rjheckma1 | September 5, 2010 11:15 AM

How interesting that so few commenters are defending the decision, and those who do are offering rationales that a 12-year-old could deconstruct.

I especially love the people who say there's no freedom of speech issue here because it's a private business. Um, did you read the part about how STATE attorneys general coerced them into this? Now, most of us understand that "state" means government. Is a reading comprehension problem with you people or what?

The absence of many defenders and the poor quality of the defenses offers reflects a simple truth: most of the people who support this decision do so because they want everyone forced to live according to their puritanical beliefs. They don't post because they know raw moral paternalism isn't much of a justification.

Posted by: uh_huhh | September 5, 2010 11:38 AM

The problem was that the ads were being used as a place to market the services of juveniles and "sex slaves" from the Far East, Latin America and Eastern Europe. When confronted with the myriad reports detailing the sexual exploitation of women and children, the CraigsList folks claimed to be working with law Enforcement on the issues, but that turned out to be a complete lie, so now they've simply thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Posted by: OttoDog | September 5, 2010 12:53 PM

I know that most of these women on Craigslist are independent and this has eliminated the pimp situation that is on the streets, most of these women are mothers who are out of work due to the economy and need an extra source of income, like it or not this is a livelihood that a lot of women have to live by to survive and men have this decision to make or they could just leave their families to go and find a woman who enjoys sex, this way it is easier and the women are at home and get to keep their lives! Just a woman who wishes she had the courage and dignity that the independent women deserve!! What is the difference if I marry for the money?

Posted by: arnells26 | September 5, 2010 1:59 PM

The First Amendment prohibits the Congress from passing laws respecting free speech and the 14th Amendment prohibits the states from doing the same thing.
There is no law which forces any private company from refusing and/or printing any ad. It's their business. This still is a free country regarding speech and press.
Newspapers generally don't print adult ads in the classifieds. It's their choice. Before leveling criticism at any of the media, read the First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: diamond2 | September 5, 2010 2:04 PM

Buyer beware. If you have to look to the classifieds for sex, you assume the risks. If you're looking for a reputable masseur/euse or a legitimate studio art modeling gig, you don't look under "adult services." File under D for Duh. Freedom from government - there's a freedom we need.

Posted by: Myowls | September 5, 2010 2:28 PM

While I have no problem with consenting adults transacting with other consenting adults, Craiglist has in fact become the country's leading panderer of underaged and coerced trafficked prostitutes.

That being the case, it should be required to police its site better, even if it has to charge more for adult services ads.

Of course that will likely just drive them elsewhere, but that's no excuse for throwing up our hands and allowing Craig's list to traffic 13 year olds.

Posted by: Itzajob | September 5, 2010 6:35 PM

"If you're looking for a reputable masseur/euse or a legitimate studio art modeling gig, you don't look under "adult services.""

It would pretty stupid to pay for a massage if it didn't include a happy ending.

Even Al Gore agrees with this.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 5, 2010 8:21 PM

They only censored one of the spots on their page. The others remain wide open for erotic business as usual. "Theraputic"
"Gigs" and some one or two others are out there, still ready for any horny ambition.

Posted by: Vincent_of_Valley_Forge | September 5, 2010 10:35 PM

De facto Pandering.

Posted by: hakafos44 | September 5, 2010 11:13 PM

De facto Pandering

Posted by: hakafos44 | September 5, 2010 11:14 PM

Once again the puritantical forces have determined that we must be protected from one of the most basic human actions/instincts, sex.

So Craigslist takes down it's red light district, it's just going to come back again in some other way, shape, or form.

These self righteous, grandstanding idiots have more important things to focus on than trying to stamp out the world's oldest profession on the world's largest flea market.

Accept it, legalize it, regulate it and finally move on.

Posted by: oversight68 | September 6, 2010 4:15 AM

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