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State attorneys general ask Craigslist to drop adult services

The website is used to advertise prostitution, a letter to the website's CEO and founder claims.

August 24, 2010|By Eric Gershon

Attorneys general from 17 states have asked Craigslist to eliminate the adult services section of its popular network of websites, citing continuing use of it to advertise prostitution.

"Craigslist clearly lacks the wherewithal — or will — to fight flagrant prostitution ads that persist on its site," Connecticut Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday in a letter to Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark. "Prostitution is a booming business on Craigslist, perhaps more than ever before."

Blumenthal is one of 17 attorneys general who signed a letter asking San Francisco-based Craiglist to remove the adult services section.

"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 attorneys general of Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia also signed the letter. It argues that Craigslist has not lived up to its previous pledges to monitor the adult services section for inappropriate ads and eliminate them.

In November 2008, Buckmaster appeared in Hartford with Blumenthal to announce that Craigslist would begin requiring anyone posting ads in its "erotic services" section to supply a working telephone number and pay a fee by credit card as a way to crack down on ads for illegal sexual services. The company said it would verify the information.

Gershon writes for the Hartford Courant/McClatchy.

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