Tennessee joins fight to remove adult services ads from craigslist

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 6:55pm
Staff reports

The Tennessee attorney general, along with 16 other state attorneys, called Wednesday for craigslist.org to remove its adult services section.

A letter to craigslist.org CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark states that the website hasn’t done enough to fight online prostitution ads, and if it can’t screen the ads better then it should just shut down the adult services ads.

Attorney General Bob Cooper was quoted in a release as saying, “The increasingly sharp public criticism of craigslist’s adult services section reflects growing allegations that ads for prostitution — including ads trafficking children — are rampant on it. The company should take immediate action to help end exploitation of the women and children victimized as a result of these ads.”

The letter goes on to state that the company’s own “manual review” of the adult services ads did not appear to reduce the traffic of solicitations on the website.

According to the Associated Press, the other 16 states include: Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

4 Comments on this post:

By: global_citizen on 8/25/10 at 7:26

I'm sure others will disagree, but I'm pretty much a first amendment absolutist. Except for the yelling fire in a crowded theater, publishers of content are free to publish what they like despite how tasteless some politician running on a Puritan platform may deem it to be.

I'm skeptical that there is a problem with ads trafficking in children. I don't dismiss that there might have been one or two anecdotal incidents of such, but that hardly constitutes an epidemic and doesn't justify shutting down an entire section of the website that is undeniably popular with consenting adults.

I'll also say this... I'm an unapologetic libertarian when it comes to the private sexual lives of adults. If they want to hire a prostitute, that's between them and the prostitute. And when they make the arrangement on Craigslist, it doesn't become a public nuisance like it would be if prostitutes were flagging down johns at stop signs all up and down Murfreesboro Pike, Dickerson Road, and Charlotte Ave.

By: TheKryptonian on 8/25/10 at 9:17

@global_citizen. Prostitution is NOT a victimless crime: http://crime.about.com/od/prostitution/a/prostitution.htm

In most cases, it is human trafficking, i.e. slavery.

By: global_citizen on 8/25/10 at 12:32

To Kryptonian. I'm a well educated adult, thank you very much. I can read about issues and form a different opinion than you. The link you posted quotes one person's study and makes no mention of peer review. I'd be willing to bet a great sum that the person who conducted this study is a radical feminist in the mold of Andrea Dworkin, who believes the simple act of a man penetrating a woman is an inherent violation of the woman.

That said, don't get me wrong. I'm a strong civil libertarian, a feminist, and firm believer in equal rights and social justice. However, I do not swallow every study at face value and I reject the findings of the link you posted.

Prostitution may not be entirely victimless, I'll concede that. However, no amount of stringent law enforcement - or abridgment of the first amendment - is going to stop the world's oldest profession. You know that and I know that. And I do not believe most who become prostitutes do so against their will. It's a choice they make.

And again, if it's going to happen (and it is) I prefer it be arranged on Craiglist instead of the intersections of Murfreesboro Rd.

By: End Slavery TN on 8/26/10 at 11:54

The average age of entry into prostitution is between 12-14 years old, in the US. Whatever we may believe about prostitution, hopefully we can all agree that it is wrong to exploit children for sex and to force or deceive people (both men and women) into performing sex acts (or labor, or domestic servitude) for someone else's benefit.

There are many well documented cases of trafficking in persons and I know some in Tennessee, and their horrific stories, personally. Protecting children and adults from having their most basic rights as human beings violated is what we can all agree on, I trust, and work together for,

I understand and totally respect a variety of views on how to deal with Craig's List ads. And there are many other ways that predators sell their "wares" than just Craig's list, though it is a major player. We simply want to format those sources in such a way as to afford the greatest protection to people being coerced and children being manipulated.

Derri Smith
Director , End Slavery in Tennessee