Marketplace Scratch Pad

Craigslist, a brothel no more

Scott Jagow May 13, 2009

Today, the Connecticut attorney general said Craigslist will get rid of its “erotic services” ads. Instead, there will be a new adult category, closely monitored by Craigslist staff, in order “to bar flagrant prostitution and porn” on the website.

Craigslist was facing pressure because of the murder last month of a masseuse who advertised on the Boston Craigslist. A Boston University medical student was charged with killing her and with attacks on two other women he met through the website.

Each ad in the new “adult services section will be manually reviewed by Craigslist staff and new postings will cost $10. Craigslist issued this statement:

Unsurprisingly, but completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic journalism we’ve seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds, let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole.

A “masseuse” named Catherine, who posts on Craigslist several times a month, talked to CNET about the change:

“This is ridiculous,” Catherine told CNET. “It is a sign of an immature society to repress sexuality. You’re going to create more violence by doing this. The more you repress or distort sexuality, the more problems you create. I mean this is completely incompetent (by the state attorneys general).

Catherine, who grew up overseas, can’t believe that anyone would think shutting down Craigslist’s erotic services section will prevent prostitution. She said that people like her will either attempt to post ads that will avoid detection by the human screeners. If that fails, she predicts that people will go sites like Eros.com or elsewhere.

“I spoke with one of my clients,” Catherine said. “The man is a bank official and he was devastated when he heard (the Craigslist) news.”

Ah yes, it always comes back to the banks…

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