Craigslist Agrees to Regulate Sex Ads

SAN FRANCISCO - Craigslist, a classified ad website, has agreed to monitor and crack down on prostitution and other criminal activity among its users.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the company came to the agreement with 43 attorneys general - from 40 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam - and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Under the terms of the agreement, technical improvements will be made to Craigslist's screening process, changes will be made to the policies of the "erotic services" section and businesses that sell software to help criminals evade the site's terms of service will be punished, the paper reported.

"The incidence of crime on Craigslist is actually exceedingly low, considering the tens of millions of legitimate ads posted each month by well-intentioned users," Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said in a joint statement posted on the company's blog. "But no amount of criminal activity is acceptable, and as Craigslist has grown, we have become aware of instances where our free services were being misused to facilitate illegal activities."

To help with the crackdown, Craigslist will now require posters of erotic services ads to pay a small fee by credit card. The purpose, company officials said is twofold: requiring the credit card will make it easier for the company to track posters, and all money generated will be donated to charity.