Recently Craigslist has been under fire for enabling the sale of women and children for sex through their website. Hope for the Sold covered this issue in July by outlining the story of a Chinese woman in New York who sold girls online, and in August we posted a video clip of Craig Newmark responding to media accusations. For those of you who have been following this unfold, here is an update.
On August 9, Craigslist responded to the open letters of two girls (AK and MC) who said they had been forced to sell sexual services through Craigslist. On August 24, attorneys general from 17 states applied pressure, and as a result Craigslist replaced the live link in the adult services section with a black bar that reads “censored.” In other words, this pressure from individuals, organizations, and lawyers has resulted in the following outcome: Craigslist shut down its adult services section!
The link is still active in Canada and other countries outside the U.S., much to the disappointment of abolitionist groups. Craigslist also has not commented on whether this is a permanent decision or just a short-term action taken to silence the media. Some are complaining that traffickers will merely shift their operations to other service providers. Though there are several complaints floating around, let’s choose to focus on the positive shall we?
- Craigslist DID something. They listened to the public’s concerns. Whether their morals, fear of expensive lawsuits, or exasperation was the ultimate deal breaker, the fact is that the adult services link is now blocked in the U.S.
- Though Canada and other countries still have access to these services through Craigslist, the U.S. has set the stage and our hope is that this will soon affect Craigslist across the globe.
- Yes, traffickers will always morph their operations and pursue other venues. But Craigslist, which was the biggest service provider by far, has made a statement. The company is not responsible for ending sex trafficking – merely that sex trafficking will no longer happen on their turf.
So I will go right out and say it: Well done Craigslist! Hope for the Sold commends you on the action taken and we look forward to hearing increasingly positive news about you in regards to this issue.