Craigslist’s erotic services to be shut down in Canada

The RCMP will be following of the lead of their American counterparts by pressuring Craigslist to shut down its erotic services classifieds.

Several state attorney generals in the U.S. successfully removed the section of the website last month over concerns that it was an easy advertising medium for prostitution.

According to the RCMP, this initiative ties in nicely with the government’s new efforts to curb human trafficking:

“The RCMP Human Trafficking National Co-ordination Centre has partnered with Craigslist and has met [with Craigslist officials] on several occasions trying to implement some measures in Canada,” Sgt. Marie-Claude Arsenault said at a news conference in Winnipeg.
“There’s already some measures in place … not all the ones that are in the U.S. at the time, but we are speaking with them and trying to bring these measures in Canada.”

When asked directly if the RCMP wanted Craigslist to shut down adult sections on its Canadian website, Arsenault said: “These are the kinds of measures we are looking at in Canada.”

Craigslist has been firing back against allegations of social irresponsibility. Take a look at this August 18 blog post from CEO Jim Buckmaster:

craigslist is committed to being socially responsible, and when it comes to adult services ads, that includes aggressively combating violent crime and human rights violations, including human trafficking and the exploitation of minors. We are working intensively as I write this with experts and thought leaders at leading non-profits and among law enforcement on further substantive measures we can take. We are profoundly grateful to those offering us their expert assistance in this regard.

craigslist implemented manual screening of adult services ads in May of 2009. Since that time, before being posted each individual ad is reviewed by an attorney licensed to practice law in the US, trained to enforce craigslist’s posting guidelines, which are stricter than those typically used by yellow pages, newspapers, or any other company that we are aware of. More than 700,000 ads were rejected by those attorneys in the year following implementation of manual screening, for falling short of our guidelines.

Buckmaster further claimed that since Craigslist began manually screening ads, unmonitored classified websites like The Village Voice Media’s backpage.com have seen “erotic service”-style ads increase by a factor of five to ten times.