Craigslist won't run any more ads for adult services

Online classifieds website Craigslist broke its silence on Wednesday over the abrupt closure of its "adult services" section and said the shutdown was permanent.

Craigslist removed adult services ads on September 3 following months of pressure from state law enforcement officials and advocacy groups which had charged that they facilitated prostitution.

But the quirky San Francisco-based website had declined until Wednesday to provide an explanation for the sudden removal of the ads for escort, massage and other services.

In an appearance before a congressional committee looking into the sexual trafficking of minors, William Powell, a Craigslist director, said the site had "no plans to reinstate the category."

"Those who formerly posted ads in the adult services category will now have to advertise elsewhere," Powell, Craigslist's director of customer service and law enforcement relations, told the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Powell said the decision to no longer run adult services ads applied only to the United States at the moment and that erotic services categories remained on Craigslist sites in other countries, including Canada.

"It's my understanding that there are a number of issues country by country as well as legal issues for that," Powell said, stressing that "97 percent of our viewers and users are in the United States and Canada."

Craigslist counsel Elizabeth McDougall said the site was working with the Canadian authorities but there had been no request from Canada to remove adult services ads there.

"They are a sovereign nation," she told the committee. "We don't believe that it's appropriate for the US policy to dictate what Canada's policy should be with respect to the Craigslist website and adult services."

Craigslist shut down the link to its adult services section in the United States on September 3, replacing it with the single world "censored."

The "censored" tag was removed a few days later but the adult services section on Craigslist.org - which offers free and paid advertising for everything from houses to babysitters to furniture for sale - had disappeared.

Powell and McDougall made it clear they believed Craigslist had been turned into something of a scapegoat and stressed the efforts the site has made to monitor adult services ads, including pre-screening of all submissions and working with state law enforcement and advocacy groups.

"Craigslist has been one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation," Powell said.

Powell also took a swipe at newspaper coverage of the controversy, saying "the incidence of crime relating to use of Craigslist is extremely low.

"But despite Craigslist's best efforts, it is not and cannot be zero, and any incidence of crime across tens of millions of people will generate enough crime stories to keep the newspapers, who compete with us in the classifieds business, busy reporting," he said.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said removing adult services ads on Craigslist was a "positive and constructive step" but "the problem is much wider than Craigslist."

Nicholas Sensley, chief of police of Truckee, California, agreed, saying Craigslist is "only one of many" sites offering adult services ads and "to their credit, not nearly the worst."

News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Sport
footballLive: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee