Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Texas AG Abbott Joins other AGs in Demanding Craigslist Remove Adult Services

Via the Houston Chronicle. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined with his good pal Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) and 15 other attorneys general in signing a letter to Craigslist demanding the site eliminate its "adult services" category. The letter said, among other things,
"No amount of money [referring to the revenue CL receives from AS ads], however, can justify the scourge of illegal prostitution and the suffering of the women and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist," the letter said.
I couldn't agree more. Illegal prostitution is definitely the problem. But I would encourage these attorneys general to try digging around in the W4M sections of their local Craigslist and notice that a significant proportion of the ads in the "legit" personals sections are also subtly (or, in some cases, clearly) soliciting money for sex. So eliminating the Adult Services section, which has actual humans review the ads before publishing, would just open up the regular personals sections to an unregulated free-for-all for sex workers and those who may be exploiting illegally trafficked/enslaved women and girls.

But as the poster on my office wall says, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail." If Craigslist's "legitimate" prostitution ads are eliminated, sex workers and those who exploit women will find other ways to drum up business. So maybe it's time to try something really novel and legalize prostitution so sex workers can be protected by the law in a real way.

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