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Craigslist responds to sex ad accusations

from – Craigslist has responded to accusations leveled at it yesterday, saying that it does not turn a blind eye to prostitution or ads offering sex services.

Craigslist is facing claims from Connecticut’s attorney general that the online service is used to advertise child sex trafficking, a suggestion that it vehemently denies.

In a blog post today Craigslist’s CEO questioned the claims contained in two half-page newspaper advertisements and asked whether they had been reported to the police or just used in evidence against it.

Having suggested that advertising services were being used as a scapegoat when dealing with the real problem, the firm went further today.

“We are anxious to know that the perpetrators are behind bars. Would you or the advocacy groups who placed the ads please let us know where the police reports were filed?” asked CEO Jim Buckmaster [pictured], adding, “We have been unable thus far to identify police reports matching the crimes you describe. If Craigslist was misused, we want to learn more so we can improve our preventative measures.”

Buckmaster said that he would be keen to see the perpetrators apprehended and prosecuted and requested that any information be sent into the site.

Craiglist apparently works closely with law enforcement to “bring to justice any criminals foolish enough to incriminate themselves by misusing our site”, and Buckmaster added that in these cases it would work hard to do everything to sort out the cases mentioned in the ads.

Buckmaster said that in the last two years Craigslist has put internal measures in place, measures that were co-approved by 40 state Attorneys General and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and started manually screening each and every advert for adult services.

He added that it appeared that the horrific events might have occurred before this manual screening was implemented, and said that that now Craigslist is “one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation”.

As well as commendations from experts in the field, Craigslist has also won approval from its naysayers, according to Buckmaster, who added, “Even politicians looking to advance their careers by publicly criticising us grudgingly admit (when pressed) that we have made giant strides, and that Craigslist is virtually alone among advertising venues in vigorously combating exploitation and trafficking.”

Craigslist seems to stand alone in fact against a rising tide of exploitation, and is the only service out of countless others to have a range of comprehensive preventive measures in place, said Buckmaster. µ


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