By April Corbin.
When Craigslist removed the "adult services" and "adult gigs" sections from its website earlier this month, the anti-prostitution and anti-sex trafficking advocacy groups that pressured the San Francisco-based listings company to do so rejoiced in what they saw as a victory against illegal activities, especially ones involving minors.
She questions some advocacy groups' claim that at leastminors a year are exploited by the sex industry.
They're wild estimates," says Brents. One issue may be that real-life victims often become highly publicized.
In an example froma year-old Las Vegas teen named Nichole Yegge who advertised as an escort on Craigslist was murdered. How big a role the listings side played is debatable.
More recently, on Sept. Martin Vohwinkel allegedly placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting girls "the younger the better" for sex in exchange for money.
What section that ad was placed under is unclear. Brents said she believes illegal activities involving minors will likely move further underground, rather than decrease or disappear.
It may even be harder to track online activity on less-popular listings sites, especially ones that don't charge for listings. In lateCraigslist began charging a nominal fee to list in their "adult services" and "adult gigs" sections.
The benefit of that was that the company had posters' contact and credit card information, which has the potential to be subpoenaed. The more relevant issue may be whether the Craigslist decision hurts adult sex industry workers.
Brents said she believes it does — and she's not alone. Ange, who preferred not to use her full name, has worked in and managed escort call centers for six years. She says that Craigslist s for nearly all business for smaller escort companies.
Still, they aren't going anywhere. Call centers are now utilizing other listings websites — like eros-guide.
Many local escort companies are also scrambling to get personal domains up and running. Oh, and they haven't completely abandoned Craigslist either — they just moved to the "casual encounters" section, where they are likely to get flagged as inappropriate and removed, but maybe not before reaching a potential customer.
Also affected by the sections' removal are percent-legal adult-oriented businesses, such as strip clubs and sex-toy shops, which often found their employment flagged as inappropriate when posted in Craigslist traditional sections. Then, there are those involved in fetish photography or services.
Ange agrees, adding, "There are a lot of people affected by this. Everyone is going to crawl around until another central resource appears.
And another will emerge. It's only a matter of time.
Though, inevitably, that site too will face criticism. Earlier this week, 21 state attorneys general — Nevada included — called for the Craigslist clone to remove its adult. Via its blog, Back.
In the meantime, escort services might simply enjoy the irony in the fact that while nationwide decisions and political pressure have taken away their local go-to online advertisement spot, they are still free to post their s on the sides of mobile billboards on the Strip, or on cards that litter the streets with glossy images of themselves nearly naked, with only tiny stars covering their nipples. Full comments policy.
No Craigslist? No problem, say sex workers. Chris Morris.