In the aftermath of the accused Craigslist killer’s suicide, attorneys general from 18 states are pressuring the popular website to remove its listings for “adult services”, arguing that the website’s adminstrators are incapable of blocking illegal ads, including prostitution and child trafficking.
The attorneys general from Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia all signed a joint letter urging Craigslist to remove the section. Site administrators removed the “erotic services” section from the website after Boston University medical student Philip Markoff was accused of fatally shooting a masseuse he met on Craigslist.
Prior to the removal of the “erotic services” section in response to the Craigslist killer case, in November 2008, Craigslist began requiring posters to pay a fee and provide a working phone number before posting an erotic ad. In addition, in May 2009 Craigslist renamed the erotic services section to “adult services” and pledged to implement a screening process to review erotic ads before they were posted to the site. However, the attorneys general are particularly concerned that the website’s administrators are not upholding their promises. In fact, in July 2010 two young girls wrote an open letter to company officials reporting that they were trafficked for sex through Craigslist. The attorneys general recognize that Craigslist stands to lose tremendous profit in eliminating the “adult services” section from the website, but wrote in their letter that they hope that the company realizes the cost of illegal prostitution and the suffering of women and children that are sexually trafficked.