Culture

Craigslist: Making Prostitutes and Cops Safer and More Successful

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clients?

A great piece from Slate on how attorney general grandstanding has made life worse for cops and prostitutes:

Leading the campaign against Craigslist prostitution is Richard Blumenthal. The Connecticut attorney general, hot off a war on Facebook and MySpace for their alleged exposure of young people to sexual predation, started a crusade against Craigslist last March. (He was joined by 39 more attorneys general in November.) Sure enough, when Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster announced the company's decision to kill the site's sex ads, Blumenthal and his supporters declared victory. What exactly has Blumenthal won, though? By organizing and consolidating a sector of the informal economy, Craigslist was certainly helpful for sexual-service providers. But it also was a major boon for law enforcement, which could centralize its sting operations—thanks to Craigslist, a bust was only a mouse-click away. While the death of the erotic-services section is a PR win for Blumenthal—and for Craigslist, which can claim that it's cleaned up its act—it's terrible news for sex workers, who will lose a measure of safety, and for beat cops, who will now find it harder to crack down on the sex trade that Blumenthal supposedly wants to end.

Not sure the folks at Craigslist consider this a win, though. They're calling this a "witch-hunt" and suing the attorney general of South Carolina for similar P.R. stunts.

More me on prostitutes here. Me on online predators here. And me on Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, here.