Craigslist Sex Ads Cant Be Stopped
Craigslist has given prostitutes a gateway to advertise themselves and connect with other individuals. Attorneys General from across the country have been working with Craigslist to clean up the website, but have not been successful. Now Conneticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has subpoenaed the company to see exactly what is going on, and why they are not changing the content of the website. “The Craigslist brothel business seems booming—belying its promise to fight prostitution. We are asking Craigslist for specific answers about steps to screen and stop sex-for-money offers—and whether the company is actually profiting from prosttiution ads that it promised the states and public it would try to block,” Blumenthal said after issuing the subpoena.
Prostitution is generally illegal in the United states and it is illegal for media outlets to publish advertisements. So how can Craigslist get away with having an “adult services section”? Craigslist can have this section because of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of the act states that any interactive computer service is not a publisher of the content that third parties post, and thus is immune from lawsuits of prosection based on the material that users post.
In 2008 Craigslist agreed to crack down on the ads and signed a joint statement with the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children and the Attorneys General of 40 states pledging to take steps to reduce the volume of illegal sex ads on this side. Despite the agreement the amount of ads did not change. Craigslist charges users a fee to place an adult listing and it has turned into a major profit engine for this site. It is extremely ironic that a Decency Act allows Craigslist to keep running these advertisements.