Craigslist To Shutter 'Internet Brothel'

Online classified service will no longer accept erotic services ads under pressure from state AGs.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

May 13, 2009

2 Min Read

Craigslist will eliminate its "Erotic Services" section under an agreement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan announced the agreement Wednesday and praised the Web site for making the changes.

"It's clear to everyone that Craigslist's erotic services section was nothing more than an Internet brothel," Madigan said. "I'm encouraged that Craigslist has agreed to fundamentally change how they operate and monitor their site. The steps they're taking are the only effective way to prevent the exploitation of women and children."

Madigan and other state attorneys general pressured the Web site to shut down the , and they complained that it had failed to comply with an earlier agreement to prevent users from posting ads for illegal activities.

Last month, Madigan sent a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster demanding that the erotic services section be shut down because of what she and other attorneys general called "overwhelming evidence" that Craigslist had breached the November agreement.

Madigan claimed her office reviewed more than 74,000 erotic services postings in Chicago and found up to 600 new ads daily in that city alone. The investigation found that the Web site failed to take all the steps it had promised, including the collection of working phone numbers and fees from valid credit cards, tagging the ads for parental screening software and to help users better flag ads with pornography and illegal offers.

The pressure increased after 26-year-old New Yorker Julissa Brisman was shot to death while meeting a client who had answered her massage ad in the erotic services section.

Wednesday, Craigslist agreed to immediately stop accepting posts for erotic services postings, allow ads posted as of May 12 to expire within a week, create a new "adult services" section, manually review every ad posted to the adult services section, and stop users from posting nude or graphic photos in the new section.

Craigslist did not respond immediately to a request for comment Wednesday.

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