Underage girls who say they were sold for sex on the site were behind the battle to shutter its adult-services section. Michelle Goldberg reports on the inside story of their role—and the remarkable woman who led the fight.
Melissa Petroa New York elementary school teacher, was suspended from her job Monday because of a Huffington Post piece she wrote about her Craigslist-enabled dabbling in prostitution. Malika Saada Saar, the founder of The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, played a crucial role in pressuring Craigslist to shutter its adult-services section.
About three years ago, The Rebecca Project started researching the situation of girls in the criminal justice system throughout the U. Others had been arrested for running away from home to escape sexual abuse.
Some, traumatized by a sexual assault, missed school and were arrested for truancy. The ease with which trafficking is conducted on Craigslist is at the heart of the problem.
No one is under any illusions that shutting down the adult-services section will eliminate prostitution. But it will make things harder for pimps and johns.
Franzblau ly directed anti-trafficking efforts at the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, where most of the domestic trafficking cases he saw involved Craigslist. Certainly, some men will go elsewhere, but perhaps not all.
Craigslist, of course, disagrees with this assessment. We have been unable thus far to identify police reports matching the crimes you describe. In Maywe went beyond those measures and implemented manual screening of each adult-services ad.
Based on the time period mentioned in your newspaperit appears the events you describe may have occurred before manual screening was implemented. Yet even after manual screening, there were plenty of Craigslist with code words for underage girls.
On Craigslist sites outside the U. Unable to persuade Craigslist, Saar and her allies in other anti-trafficking organization enlisted government support. A week and a half before the hearings, Craigslist succumbed to pressure and closed its adult-services section on its U. But Craigslist officials continued to argue that they were part of the solution, not the problem. It is our sincere hope that law enforcement and advocacy groups will find helpful partners there.
Saar remains unmoved by the arguments that such will simply migrate further underground. Crossword Newsletters. TECH Disinformation.
Craigslist Adult Services: Sex Slaves Who Fought Back Underage girls who say they were sold for sex on the site were behind the battle to shutter its adult-services section. Michelle Goldberg.
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