By Calvin Palmer
Online advertising service Craigslist will get rid of its erotic services category and replace it with an adult category that will be reviewed by employees of the Web site.
Criticism of the types of adverts placed in the erotic services section has grown in recent months.
In March, an Illinois county sheriff filed a lawsuit to force the Web site to remove its erotic services ads.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart called Craigslist the “largest source of prostitution in America”.
Dart said: “Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they’re being pimped on Craigslist.”
He cited more than 200 arrests in the past two years linked to the Web site and said street gangs are now using Craigslist to pimp out prostitutes.
More recently, a murdered masseuse in Boston met her alleged killer through Craigslist. And alleged attacks on two other women by the same man were the result of the women advertising on Craigslist.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the attorneys general of Connecticut and Missouri met with Craigslist officials last week seeking an end to ads for illegal sexual activities.
Madigan’s office said today such existing ads on the Web site will expire in seven days.
“We’re very encouraged that Craigslist is doing the right thing in eliminating its online red light district with prostitution and pornography in plain sight,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. “We’ll be watching and investigating critically to make sure this measure is more than just a name change.”
“This is a good next step but by no means is it the ultimate or complete solution,” he said.
Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster was unavailable for comment.
[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]