Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Seeks Confirmation Of Craigslist Adult Services Closure, Steps To Prevent Prostitution Ads Elsewhere On Site

September 7, 2010

            Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today sought confirmation from craigslist that it has permanently closed its adult services section and steps it will take to prevent prostitution ads from migrating to other parts of the site.

            Blumenthal wrote on behalf of his office so he could advise the coalition of 21 attorneys general he has helped lead as to other steps they may take. His letter followed conversations with craigslist’s attorney over the weekend.

            Craigslist shut down the site’s adult services section late Friday, about two weeks after Blumenthal led 21 state attorneys general in demanding its closure. Blumenthal acted after recent reports of women and underage girls being trafficked through the site’s adult services section.

            Craigslist replaced the adult services with the word “censored,” but has declined so far to provide any public explanation or clarification.

            Blumenthal said that craigslist has a moral and ethical responsibility to publicly explain future plans for adult services and how it will prevent prostitution and human trafficking from moving to other parts of its site. He noted that technology exists to assist craigslist in blocking such ads from its site.

            Blumenthal said, “In apparent response to pressure and appeals from attorneys general, advocacy groups, victims and public outrage, craigslist has shut down the Adult Services Section of its website. This step is exactly what we requested, and I commend craigslist for heeding our call, but significant questions remain. I strongly urge you to make a public promise that the shutdown will be permanent and complete, and that effective screening and flagging measures will be implemented to prevent the prostitution ads from migrating to other sections.

            “When craigslist took down the link to the Adult Services section, it chose to replace the link for Adult Services with the word ‘censored,’ leading to public speculation that the action is only temporary. During the past three days, such speculation has increased, in the absence of any statement by craigslist. I urge you to state clearly and unconditionally that adult services has been shut down permanently.

“There is the distinct danger and apparent trend that prostitution ads may migrate to other heavily trafficked portions of your site. Already, there are indications that the personals section may become rife with sexually graphic content and illegal activity, including prostitution.

“Not only does technology enable craigslist to easily screen for ads that promote prostitution but a simple manual review of ads in the personals section of craigslist can readily detect illegal activity and other postings that violate its terms of service.” 

            For more than two years, Blumenthal has led national efforts to curb prostitution ads and human trafficking on the Internet.

            View the entire letter to craigslist - (PDF-183KB)