Craigslist has removed the censored bar it had placed over its adult services section after it shut down the section
The site replaced the section with the black bar about a week after a group of state attorneys said there weren't enough protections against blocking potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution.
Craigslist spokesperson Susan MacTavish would not comment but told the New York Times that the ads are still blocked.
The Times report said that analysts speculate that Craigslist used the word censored to make a statement: Though Craigslist is not legally responsible for what people post on its site, state attorneys general and advocacy groups have been
pressuring the company to shut down the adult services section. But analysts also said that the outpouring of attention that Craigslist's sex ads have received in recent days would make it very difficult for the site to bring back the ads .
Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote that supporters of the First Amendment should loudly voice their opposition to this type of misguided rhetoric from elected officials.
Based on article
Several mean minded campaign groups have praised Craigslist for shutting down its adult services section in the
U.S., but called on the online classifieds Web site to do the same throughout the world.
We feel that Craigslist did the right thing, and we thank Craigslist for voluntarily closing the section, Bradley Myles, executive director of the Polaris Project, said: We feel like as the largest classified ads site to have an adult services
section, this action will help prevent sexual predators from targeting women and children. There are more erotic ads outside the U.S. than there are inside the U.S., he said. We feel like if Craigslist is serious about addressing this issue … they
have a global responsibility to close all these sections immediately.
Malika Saada Saar, executive director of the Rebecca Project, also said that she was pleased that adult services was removed from the U.S. site, but urged Craigslist to show the same conscious and commitment to girls internationally.
Craigslist removed the adult services section but put a censored image over the former adult services link rather than delete it permanently. When asked if that made it seem like Craigslist was making a political statement rather than
actually taking steps to combat sex trafficking, Myles and Saada Saar said they would like to think Craigslist was doing the right thing.
We want to think the best, and … we want to think that [Craigslist founder Craig Newmark] is trying to do the right thing, Saada Saar said: That being said, we are absolutely saddened by the framing of it as censorship, she
continued. This is not a First Amendment issue; this is not a free speech issue. This is about human rights. When a child or woman is sold for sex, that is a human rights issue.
Comment: Craigslist isn't now free of sex – you just can't pay for it
by Jennifer Abel
Why should sex, alone among all forms of human interaction, be thought to spawn malignant magic when money changes hands?
Adult services, of course, is a euphemism for sexual services. Lawmakers hated Craigslist from the get-go because sex workers used it to advertise their services. Yet if you listen to politicians praise themselves now that the ads are gone,
you won't hear much talk about banning activity between consenting adults. No, politicos prefer to invoke The Children. In a statement her office released Saturday, California congresswoman Jackie Speier blamed websites such as Craigslist for child
prostitution. We can't forget the victims, we can't rest easy. Child sex trafficking continues and lawmakers need to fight future machinations of internet-driven sites that peddle children.
No argument there: forcing children into prostitution is an utterly abhorrent crime. Forcing anybody into prostitution is, and when callous sociopaths turn innocent victims into sexual slaves for their own profit, it's undeniably good when police shut
down these loathsome enterprises.
Yet when attorneys general started crusading against Craigslist, it wasn't kidnapping rapists they worried about, but adults who made money selling consensual services.
...Read the full article
Comment: How Censoring Craigslist Helps Pimps, Child Traffickers and Other Abusive Scumbags
by Danah Boyd
For the last 12 years, I've dedicated immense amounts of time, money and energy to end violence against women and
children. As a victim of violence myself, I'm deeply committed to destroying any institution or individual leveraging the sex-power matrix that results in child trafficking, nonconsensual prostitution, domestic violence and other abuses.
If I believed that censoring Craigslist would achieve these goals, I'd be the first in line to watch them fall. But from the bottom of my soul and the depths of my intellect, I believe that the current efforts to censor Craigslist's adult services
achieves the absolute opposite. Rather than helping those who are abused, it fundamentally helps pimps, human traffickers and others who profit off of abusing others.
...Read the full article