It was the Internet's version of a seedy street corner, a largely unregulated hotbed of prostitution erotic allowed easy access to illegal sex, authorities say. But officials expressed optimism Wednesday that the Internet sex trade suffered at least temporary damage as Craigslist announced that it was closing its controversial "erotic services" section after pressure by state authorities across the country.
Craigslist shuts 'erotic' section
However, the substance chicago the changes was vague, and many erotic and anti-exploitation activists remained skeptical. Though Madigan and others said Craigslist would now more closely screen posts to ads new "adult services" section, the popular classified advertisement site promised only to "experiment" with methods used by print publications to screen for illegal activities in paid ads.
Craigslist guidelines continue craigslist allow legal adult services such as massage workers, exotic dancers and escort services to place advertisements on the Web site. Before Wednesday's changes, the site relied on "community moderation" to remove posts advertising illegal services, with users alerting Craigslist to questionable ads.
Police aim to cut off Craigslist's 'erotic' ads
In November, as part of an agreement with Madigan and 42 other attorneys general, Craigslist also began using telephone and credit-card verification to screen erotic services postings. While the total number of craigslist in the erotic services section declined, authorities in Illinois and elsewhere said the steps fell far short of deterring solicitors of prostitution from using the site. In March, Cook County Sheriff Want Dart filed a federal lawsuit against the site, saying the new rules barely made a dent in the hundreds of Internet want cases his office had prosecuted because of Craigslist.
The Web site is seeking to have Dart's suit thrown out of court. On Wednesday, the new adult services section on the Chicago Craigslist had begun to accumulate posts by the afternoon, with titles advertising "Afternoon Fun??? Those similarities concerned activists against prostitution and sexual exploitation who worry that sex merchants would continue to find a way around the stepped-up vigilance chicago simply move to other Web sites.
It's not just a matter of taking care of one Web site. Such rhetoric concerned Internet free-speech supporters who said The porno amputee capitulation to law-enforcement pressure set a troubling precedent for other Web sites.