- Craig NewmarkFounder
Ask Craigslist to Stop Advertising Human Trafficking Outside the U.S.
Update: On December 18, Craigslist removed their commercial sex ads from all their international sites. The company has not released a statement about this move. Thank you to everyone who participated in the campaign to end Craigslist's advertising for child sex trafficking on their site.
Online classified ad websites like Craigslist have become the largest marketers of children trafficked into the commercial sex industry. The steady stream of exploited children for sale on Craigslist has had anti-trafficking groups demanding change for years. In the past 12 months, a trafficking survivor whose pimp forced her to advertise for her own statutory rape on Craigslist at age 11 wrote an open letter to Craig Newmark asking him to remove the “adult services” section where she was sold. Cash-strapped nonprofits rejected donations from the Craigslist Foundation as tainted money. And 10,000 Change.org readers signed a petition asking Craigslist to stop profiting from child sex slavery.
After years of increasing criticism for their facilitation of child sex trafficking, Craigslist recently blocked the “adult services” section link to ads in the U.S. However, their “adult services” section continues to operate outside the U.S.
Take one minute to help protect women and children outside the U.S. from sex trafficking via Craigslist.
Dear Mr. Newmark,
Thank you for your recent decision to block the "adult services" section of Craigslist.org in the U.S. As a Craigslist user and someone who cares about ending sex trafficking, I support your choice to make your site unavailable to human traffickers, pimps, and those who would buy sex with children and unwilling victims. However, the adult services section of Craigslist still operates in many countries outside the U.S., and sex trafficking victims are still being exploited and advertised on Craigslist.org.
I am asking you to stop the sex trafficking on Craigslist's "adult services" sections around the world by the most effective means possible, whether that entails creating a more comprehensive screening and tracking system for adult ads or shutting down the adult services sections in other countries as well. If you choose to keep "adult services" open, I urge you to coordinate with local law enforcement and NGOs in those countries and maintain clear and transparent screening standards for all "adult services" ads. If you choose to block access to international "adult services" sites, I urge you to vigilantly ensure adult ads are not being placed in other sections of the site.
Protecting women and children from sex trafficking is a critical human rights issue, one you have tremendous power to influence. Please, stop allowing the advertising of human trafficking victims on non-U.S. "adult services" pages, work more closely and transparently with law enforcement and local anti-trafficking organizations, and monitor the rest of Craigslist to prevent displacement of adult ads.
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