Craigslist still profiting from prostitution, says official

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Connecticut's Attorney General has slapped a subpoena on classified ad site Craigslist, suggesting it may be profiting from prostitution.

Richard Blumenthal, co-leading a coalition of 39 states, says he's monitored the site and found that prostitution ads are still appearing in Craigslist’s 'adult' section and elsewhere, despite promises to screen them out.

He also believes that Craigslist may be profiting to the tune of tens of millions from prostitution ads, rather than providing the ad proceeds to charity as it publicly promised in 2008.
 
"The Craigslist brothel business seems booming - belying its promise to fight prostitution," Blumenthal said.

"The best evidence is thousands of ads that remain on Craigslist - skimpily and slickly disguised with code words. We are asking Craigslist for specific answers about steps to screen and stop sex-for-money offers - and whether the company is actually profiting from prostitution ads that it promised the states and public that it would try to block."

Blumenthal says Craigslist may be making as much as $36.3 million from prostitution, and even from human trafficking.

His subpoena calls for Craigslist to hand over documents describing how ads are screened and which ads have been taken down. He also asks the company to provide evidence to back up its claims that it has recently halved the number of 'inappropriate' ads in the personals section.

It also suggests that there have been communications between Craigslist and organisations offering services or software designed to help circumvent Craigslist’s terms of use.