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Craigslist accused of 'facilitating sex trafficking'

Sex workers post open letter in Washington Post

Online auction site Craigslist has been accused of "facilitating trafficking" through its adult services section.

Two sex workers posted an open letter to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark in the Washington Post claiming the site wrecked their lives.

"I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28-year-old man. All day, other girls and I sat with our laptops, posting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist," one of the sex workers said in the letter.

"I am 17 now, and my childhood memories aren't of my family, going to middle school, or dancing at the prom. They are of making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be sold for sex, and answering as many ads as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths."

She also said traffickers preferred the site because it's "so well known and there are rarely consequences to using it for these illegal acts".

Last year the auction site dumped its 'erotic services' section following criticism. It replaced the area with a monitored section in which nude images were removed. Craigslist also introduced a $10 (£6.27) charge to list in the section.

Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist, responded in the Washington Post saying the online auction site was being made "a scapegoat".

"Scapegoating advertising services is a very unfortunate misdirection of attention and energy from the tough choices, hard work, and significant investments required for addressing actual causes of, and making actual progress against the scourges of trafficking and child exploitation," he said.

Newmark has yet to personally respond to the letter.

See also: Craigslist used in search for assassin


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