Craigslist boasts 95% drop in 'erotic services' listings
Cracking down on classifieds of ill-repute
With Chicago's sheriff accusing Craigslist of being one of America's top sources of prostitution, the online classified ad-broker has opened its books to illustrate what it calls "spectacular" reductions in the volume of "erotic services" listings.
In a Monday blog post, Craiglist says implementing new verification policies in 2008 has helped the site make major progress in curbing its classifieds-of-easy-virtues.
September must be a lonely month.
Release of the stats is clearly a response to a federal lawsuit filed by the Illinois Sheriff Department on Thursday, which claims the enormous amounts of prostitution solicitations on Craigslist is straining the department's ability to enforce the law. In the first 11 months of 2008, it incurred costs of more than $105,000 cracking down on Craigslist prostitution. Dart wants the court to award his department unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and to shut down the site's erotic services section for good.
The lawsuit alleges that despite Craiglist's recent efforts to hose down its red light district, sex peddlers still post more than 300 listings per day in Chicago's erotic services section. The Craiglist data unfortunately only deals in percentage changes, so its impossible to verify those claims.
But what it does appear to show is massive drops after Craigslist began requiring phone verification for erotic services listings in March, and credit card authorization in November. Both measures were supposed to add more accountability to user listings
From the post:
In this same timespan, craigslist staff have continued to work closely with law enforcement agencies across the country to vigorously pursue those engaged in the horrific crimes of human trafficking and exploitation of minors.
Craiglist claims that 100 per cent of revenue earned from erotic services listings have been earmarked for donation to "worthy charities." The site says it will be in a position to start distributing the funds "soon." ®
You can't eliminate it, you can only move it around
Personally, I'd rather the tarts stick to promoting themselves on the 'net, where only those actively searching for their services will be subjected to their come-ons. Nothing more annoying then being approached on the street by women of negligible or negotiable virtue while I'm just trying to go about my business. Much better to have a quiet, discrete location for them to arrange their business transactions without offending the non-participants.
I've worked in Chicago. The problem is that they aren't getting their "piece of the action" with online ads. If the girls are on the streets, they can slip the cop a fifty as he walks past, then he just keeps walking. The entire city has been corrupt since before Al Capone's time.
It occurs to me that if they really wanted to break up the Craigslist ads, they should (when they were still free) have posted 500 new ads every day listing random (invalid) phone numbers. "Customers" quit looking, because half of the ads are bogus, and "advertisers" quit advertising, because customers quit calling. End of problem.
Personally, I prefer the "It isn't hurting anybody, leave it alone" approach.
"Is the real problem that the police don't actually want to enforce these unworkable laws but having it in a very public place like craigs list causes them political embarrassment?"
You are absolutely correct on this one; and here in Chicago, we have had enough political embarrassment.