Craigslist removes Adult Services section at the urging of Attorney Generals from 17 States

On August 24th, Attorney Generals from 17 States in calling on craigslist to immediately remove the Adult Services portion of the site due to continued rampant prostitution advertisements and mounting public outrage. 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.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark © David Sifry CCby

On August 24th, Attorney Generals from 17 States joined together in calling on craigslist to immediately remove the Adult Services portion of the site due to continued rampant prostitution advertisements and mounting public outrage. 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.

It appears Craiglist is complying with the request with little fanfare or announcement. Users from across the country have been reporting the removal of the section in multiple cities including those in the San Francisco Bay Area even though California was not one of the States who signed the letter. It’s unclear why the site decided to mark the section as censored rather than removing it altogether. Perhaps it is a way for them to make a statement. It is not just censored for non logged in users. Users with accounts will see the same black ‘censored’ label over the previous Adult Services listing.

Update: Craigslist began refunding canceled ads sending out the following message to users who posted ads recently.

“”Your craigslist ad #…. has been removed.
Your credit card has been refunded.
Thanks for using craigslist.””

“Craigslist clearly lacks the wherewithal — or will — to fight flagrant prostitution ads that persist on its site,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. “Prostitution is a booming business on craigslist, perhaps more than ever before.

“We understand that prostitution is profitable — but its human toll is intolerable, and craigslist should cease being an enabler,” Blumenthal said. “Despite its much-touted ‘manual review’ of Adult Services, craigslist has failed to block blatant prostitution ads.”

“The increasingly sharp public criticism of craigslist’s Adult Services section reflects a growing recognition that ads for prostitution — including ads trafficking children — are rampant on it,” Blumenthal said in the letter. “In our view, the company should take immediate action to end the misery for the women and children who may be exploited and victimized by these ads.

“We recognize that craigslist may lose the considerable revenue generated by the Adult Services ads. No amount of money can justify the scourge of illegal prostitution, and the suffering of women and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by craigslist.”