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Malika Saada Saar, executive director and founder of the Rebecca Project for Human Rightssaid in an e-mail that "because of your beautiful report, a girl being trafficked in Kansas saw the report, ran away from the pimp and called us. One less girl has been hurt. Thank you. Since the "World News" story aired, Craigslist has removed the "adult services" category, under pressure from a group of attorneys general from several states.
Still, the virtual red-light district has hardly disappeared. Plenty of for adult services can still be found in plain sight on Craigslist. They've simply migrated to a different category called "casual encounters. In the adult section of the popular website Craigslist, it looks as though the world's oldest profession has met up with modern technology, with a of women offering companionship for a certain price. Many took notice of the issue after two self-described "Survivors of Craigslist Sex Trafficking" took out a half- advertisement in last Friday's Washington Post.
Directed at 'Craig,' or the site's founder Craig Newmarkthe girls began by saying they "are certain you would not want what happened to us or to thousands of girls like us to ever happen again. Their stories, briefly recounted in graphic and grim detail, describe the horrors of what happened to them.
One of the young women, who goes by "AK," describes how she met a man twice her age who posted her photo online and essentially ended her life as she knew it. AK told ABC News that pimps had moved her from city to city and pocketed any money she earned, and would punish her if she ever tried to quit.
But AK was not alone. She even remembered one trip in which she was kept in the trunk of a car all the way to Las Vegas. Just recently, a year-old District of Columbia man named Brandon Petty pleaded guilty in connection with two sexual assaults of women he met through Craigslist. Evidence suggests that the first incident took place on Sept.
A similar situation occurred on April 21, He now faces up to 30 years in prison. Attorneys general from 39 states are currently monitoring adult postings on Craigslist for what they say is blatant prostitution.
Buckmaster could not be reached for an interview. In a response posted yesterday morning to the Craigslist blog"Jim," believed to be company CEO Jim Buckmaster, said the company is dedicated to improving preventative measures to ensure the safety of potential sex trafficking victims. Addressed to both AK and MC, the note went on to say that the online community was keen on doing everything possible to assist with their cases.
But, the post said that "criminal misuse of the site is quite rare," considering the fact that more than 50 million Americans use Craigslist. It also said that the site is "one of the few bright spots" when it comes to fighting against child exploitation, adding that the company manually screens each adult services advertisement to preclude for prostitution. The company also requires a phone with such a post, and created a special victim search interface for law enforcement.
Officials with the Rebecca Project said Craigslist casual encounters stories were "very disappointed" by the site's response, particularly because they consider the website to play a major role in the sex trafficking industry that affects as many asAmerican children each year. However some members of the on-line community feel Craigslist owes no apology.
In response to "Jim's" blog post, commentator "Mike" said the blame should instead be placed on the site's users, particularly those who do not flag any of the suspicious that facilitate trafficking. According to the site's Terms of Service, a point emphasized by "Mike," users are required to report any sort of criminal behavior. But, AK said the problems run even deeper than that, since the site profits at the expense of girls like her. He's collecting money and he's not working for it, just like a pimp doesn't.
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