Officials Approve Initial Craigslist Changes

SAN FRANCISCO — So far, so good, but we're watching, law enforcement has said regarding Craigslist's new "Adult" section, created to replace its controversial "erotic services," which was accused of promoting Web prostitution.

It's been more than two weeks since the San Francisco-based global ad site for countries, states, cities and regions made the change. But the jury's still out on the final verdict over escort, hooker and erotic massage postings and such on CL, reports The Boston Globe.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of a number of AGs to target the site, said it has "made some progress in blocking the most flagrant prostitution and pornography ads but continued prodding and pressure is appropriate."

Also noting "a significant change" in the types of postings was the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said, "We plan to continue to closely monitor the site to determine if more needs to be done."

But some say the ads being posted still include many for prostitution, with "code words.”

"The longstanding hazard for sex trafficking on Craigslist erotic services section has been eliminated. But the question is whether the same thing is going to exist with just a different label," said Mark Lagon, executive director of the Polaris Project, a nonprofit group seeking to eliminate child trafficking and enslavement.

Lagon did admit the amount of suggestive ads has decreased. But a look Tuesday at Craigslist Adult sections for numerous cities found ads that still appear to be thinly veiled solicitations of some form of sex for money, though it would have to be proved in court, legal experts have told

The adult section ads are monitored by the Craigslist staff and cost $10 to post, $5 to repost. Previously, the site donated revenues from its erotic services category to charity. It's still not known if the adult section's fees will be earmarked in the same way.

Writing on his blog, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said, "We are making no representation regarding how revenue from the 'adult services' category will be used."

Mainstream media is questioning the clampdown on Craigslist over print publications that run similar ads and it's been observed that the actions taken against the site would result in more such ads appearing in the back pages of free city weeklies all over the U.S.

In an editorial Monday, The Columbus Dispatch suggested blaming Internet sites for the actions of some users could potentially hamper "offerings, inventiveness and usefulness."

The editorial went on to say it's "not the medium's fault. A better approach would be education of the public about these dangers. Let users beware."

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Cincinnati police arrested eight people in an undercover prostitution sting at a hotel related to Craigslist massage ads and robberies of those who answered the postings.

Also, in the affluent Portland, Oregon suburb of West Linn, AP reports police announced they have been shutting down some online prostitutes through a sting on Craigslist. 

The pressure put on Craigslist came to full boil following the recent arrest of the so-called "Craigslist Killer," a Boston-area medical student accused of murder and robbery of women who posted on the site.

For more on Craigslist under fire, please see the news archives.