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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Craigslist moves to block prostitutes from posting ads

Craigslist, a popular online classified ads site, announced yesterday that it will be removing the "erotic services" section for U.S. cities and replacing it with a new section that will be moderated by their staff:




As of today for all US craigslist sites, postings to the "erotic services" category will no longer be accepted, and in 7 days the category will be removed.

Also effective today for all US sites, a new category entitled "adult services" will be opened for postings by legal adult service providers. Each posting to this new category will be manually reviewed before appearing on the site, to ensure compliance with craigslist posting guidelines and terms of use. New postings will cost $10, but once approved, will be eligible for reposting at $5.

The section in question was previously used primarily by sex trade workers who were able to advertise their services on the free classifieds site. The popular website has come under fire from numerous state attorney generals recently after a masseuse who advertised on the site was killed in Boston. Despite a few cases of violence that can be linked to online classified ads, craigslist argues the service is still safer than print ads:

Interesting Wikipedia entry, Lonely Heart Killers, lists high-profile cases of killers using print classified ads.…

When critics rush to tar craigslist as especially dangerous, it's important to put things in perspective. craigslist users have posted more than 1.15 BILLION classified ads to date, easily 1000x the combined total ever posted to the print publications involved in all of these "print ad murders".

Regardless of whether or not advertising online is safer than advertising in a newspaper, either option is almost certainly safer than working on the streets. Advertising online allows sex workers to screen potential clients and work in a safe and comfortable environment. It likely also helps them get away from the pimps and organized crime elements that control the sex trade in many cities. The goal of public policy should be to ensure the safety of sex workers by allowing them to work indoors, rather than forcing them onto the streets. Aside from issues of safety, many people would be happy if fewer hookers were hanging around on street corners.

So what is preventing prostitutes from working inside? There are numerous situations in which they do work indoors:

Many of the people on the streets have drug problems, which make them undesirable for massage parlors and escort services. Starting their own business requires that they either have a descent place to live or a car to get around town and capital to advertise their services. Homeless and drug addicted prostitutes often don't have access to these things. It is also easier for many of these women to stand on the corner, rather than take the time and money to create websites, put ads in newspapers, and take the steps necessary to successfully advertise a home-based business. I'm sure there's also an incentive for pimps to keep hookers on the streets, where it's easier to monitor and control them. Craigslist's appeal was that it was free (for a time), quick, easy, and generated large amounts of traffic. It did not require any knowledge of web design or upfront capital to get started.

As with other issues, such as drugs, the big problems with prostitution include organized crime, physical safety, and diseases. Many of these problems would disappear if the services were legal and run by legitimate businesses instead of organized crime. Luckily, for those who do use the Internet for prostitution, there are many sites that allow escorts to create their own websites and advertise their services. Likewise, the Georgia Straight is reporting that craigslist has yet to change its policy on the erotic services sections for Canadian cities. While the changes at craigslist in the U.S. will by no means end the practise of advertising prostitution on the Internet, it will make it that much harder and likely encourage some people to go back onto the streets.

(Photo courtesy Brian Boros licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License)

Posted by Jesse Kline on May 14, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink

Comments

"The section in question was previously used primarily by sex trade workers"

Way to out yourself as a Marxist, rookie.

Talk like a man FFS: escorts. We call them escorts; people like Judy Rebick use the torturous phrase "sex trade workers", not young men aspiring to present themselves as, well, whatever it is you are pretending to be. If you want to be extra libertarian, call them whores.

When your balls drop, and you actually hire a few of these whores - whores - you'll find your concern for their well being to drop dramatically. They are perhaps the most loathesome of our society's detritus, to call them lumpenproletariat is somewhat defamatory to ne'er do wells and scallywags.

Whores rip off and assault men far more than men rip off or assault whores. Anybody who says otherwise hasn't left their basement and has no business talking about whores. In fact, let's limit discussion on whores to actual whores and men who have hired whores, the rest of you concern trolls have zero idea what you are talking about.

Do I care if a crack whore who tries to rip off her john gets stabbed? No, not at all. And another thing: whores are the most anti-male people you will find. I wouldn't expect a woman to care if a chauvinist male were stabbed by a woman; accordingly, they shouldn't expect men to care when whores get cut.

"The goal of public policy should be to ensure the safety of sex workers"

You are a very stupid boy. The goal should be safe, affordable blow jobs for men, the crack whores can go to hell where they belong. If Canadian whores won't do it, then let's import ten million young, nubile third world women to do it. Think about it guys: five dollar blowjobs.

Posted by: Guy Who Has Actually Lived Life | 2009-05-14 11:27:37 PM


Except in the case of sex slaves, Jesse, prostitution is a voluntary enterprise. Those who knowingly and willingly risk themselves by breaking the law have no one to blame for it but themselves. While it doesn't mean they deserve to be cut or robbed, it also doesn't mean that we should change the law. Think about it. Next thing, burglars will be demanding that their trade be legalized so they no longer have to risk their necks working at night.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-14 11:52:36 PM


Now men searching for prostitutes will have to pursue them through more traditional ways... like going to Cowboys and paying $6 covercharge.

Posted by: Feynman & Coulter's Love Child | 2009-05-14 11:58:40 PM


"Next thing, burglars will be demanding that their trade be legalized so they no longer have to risk their necks working at night."

That argument is really getting tired. Burglary is an inherently violent act. Prostitution is not. Equating the two is absurd.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-05-15 6:59:14 AM


The oldest profession in the World won't stop because some are offended anymore than the second oldest profession in the world (politics) will stop resembling the oldest one.

Posted by: JC | 2009-05-15 7:00:34 AM


"That argument is really getting tired. Burglary is an inherently violent act. Prostitution is not. Equating the two is absurd."

Excuse me, the goal of the burglar is to steal without being detected, with the homeowners asleep or preferably not at home. Statute law and common law both define it as a crime against possession and habitation, not against the person. You're conflating simple B&E and burglary with home invasions, which are much more serious than ordinary burglary. Oh, and prostitutes spread more disease than burglars, too.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-15 7:31:43 AM


Using that logic, JC, we may as well not bother outlawing anything.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-15 7:32:00 AM


Burglary, whether it involves violence or not, if successful will always result in someone's rights being violated (property rights). Being legal or illegal will not change this.

Prostitution is different. No one's rights are being violated. The violence is a direct result of it being illegal.

"Oh, and prostitutes spread more disease than burglars, too." More flawed logic. Are you telling me the "john" isn't aware of the risks? No one is holding a gun to his head. He's an idiot for visiting a prostitute and has no one to blame but himself. I thought conservatives were about personal responsibility. Perhaps I was mistaken.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-05-15 7:47:02 AM


Using that logic, JC, we may as well not bother outlawing anything.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-15 7:32:00 AM


How about we just stick to natural law?
Force and Fraud and all that fall in those categories are wrong (?) and leave the rest alone.

Posted by: JC | 2009-05-15 9:38:49 AM


Burglary, whether it involves violence or not, if successful will always result in someone's rights being violated (property rights). Being legal or illegal will not change this.

Burglary, if successful, involves no violence at all, which is what you rather mockingly and jeeringly argued. Perhaps you should have come down off your high horse long enough to get the lay of the land.

Prostitution is different. No one's rights are being violated. The violence is a direct result of it being illegal.

The violence is a direct result of the fact that most of a streetwalker's customers are as unsavory as she is. People who meet to swap songs and software are also doing something illegal, yet such meets are conspicuously non-violent.

More flawed logic. Are you telling me the "john" isn't aware of the risks? No one is holding a gun to his head...

Yes, on your part. I never said that prostitution wasn't voluntary for any of the parties concerned. The subject being discussed was people getting. And burglary results in a lot less people getting hurt than diseases spread by streetwalkers and their clients. This would be true even if prostitution was legal.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-15 10:00:46 AM


How about we just stick to natural law? Force and Fraud and all that fall in those categories are wrong (?) and leave the rest alone.

That "law" is no more "natural" than the law against prostitution. Natural law is paradise law, which means no law at all. Natural law is ruthlessly Darwinian and does not acknowledge such abstract concepts as rights or duty.

Utopian tripe as this does not further your argument. It simply makes you sound like an anarchist.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-15 10:09:57 AM


I feel that these name changes and new restrictions are so arbitrary and legalistic, but serve no real purpose other than to satisfy a lawmaker into thinking he is doing something. Adult services clearly means the same thing and people will get creative in making their postings for prostitution. I do not think it will actually stop the services, just alter them and send them into new outlets.
http://www.newsy.com/videos/craigslist_crackdown/

Posted by: Jess | 2009-05-15 11:54:17 AM


It will put a dent in prostitution initally until they start moving to off shore sites like www.SellitForFree.com which has free erotic ads just like craigslist.

Posted by: saul_mq | 2009-05-15 4:26:14 PM



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