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Online listing mecca Craigslist and has reached an agreement with 40 states and the District of Columbia “to tame its notoriously unruly ‘erotic services’ listings,” the New York Times reports. Craigslist, which has an extensive “personals” section—-including the sex-specific “casual encounters“—-often sees prostitutes and Johns listing for-pay services along with solicitations for unfunded hook-ups.
The purging of paid sex services on the site came after Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal contacted Craigslist on behalf of 40 states. Blumenthal “sent a letter to Craigslist demanding that it purge the site of such material and better enforce its own rules against illegal activity, including prostitution.” The agreement between the states and Craigslist is aimed at identifying the posters who advertise erotic services, reports NYT.
In March, Craigslist began asking its erotic services advertisers to provide a phone number, which an automated system calls. The system reads a series of digits, which the advertiser types into a Web page as verification before the ad will appear on the site. Craigslist said that ended most of the illicit material. Under the broader agreement announced Thursday, Craigslist is going further, asking that advertisers provide valid identification. It said that it will charge erotic services vendors a small fee for each ad—-$5 to $10, Mr. Buckmaster said—-and require that they use a credit card for the payment. This, theoretically, will let the company confirm users’ identities. It will donate the money to charities, including those that combat child exploitation and human trafficking.
But even if a prostitute or John offers up valid ID when posting their ads, how many of these people will really be prosecuted for offering “200 ROSES” for a couple hours of “DEEP TISSUE MISSAGE”?