10 September 2010

Craigslist, censorship or window dressing?

To start the Labor Day weekend off right, Craigslist dismissed the adult services section of their site, replacing it with links that are guaranteed to be censored.

Even though this was something that had to be done, it's still a major step in the right direction as far as the fight against trafficking is concerned. After months of doing little to correct the site's problem centered around women, teens and children being pimped and/or trafficked in it's adult services section, Craig Newmark may deserve more credit than he will ever receive. It obviously wasn't an easy decision for him (or it would have been made last year).

One concern. Craigslist says it will inspect every ad posted on the new setup of their adult services section. Interesting, because I thought they said that last year.

In late August 2010, 17 attorneys general signed a letter sent to Craigslist demanding the section be taken down. The attorneys general believed Craigslist was in an indirect way either supporting the trafficking of teens and children on it's site or just making it too easy for it to occur.

With that said, how effective will changing the name really become over time? After receiving the negative media, the complaints, the letters... the name of the adult services section of Craigslist, now labeled censored, appears to only be window dressing. Like when the coach says to be different compared to other guys in your position, then you change the color of your shoe laces. It doesn't cut it. And no one buys that you're different. Most people don't even notice.

Sweden tackles prostitution and trafficking with the Sex Purchase Law. The law keeps most of the country's prostitution and trafficking at bay. But even it's not safe from the effects of the Internet connecting victims to prospective buyers. As a matter of fact, it's not even close to the answer needed.

For suggestions on how Craigslist can help eliminate the use of pimps and traffickers on its site, use twitter to expose @craignewmark to some of your solutions.