Most of us are aware that craigslist has removed its controversial ‘Adult Services’ section after the attorney generals from some 18 states placed pressure on the company to do so. There have been many different opinions on whether this should or should not have been done and that craigslist may be playing a game with those who wish to regulate the online advertising website.
My fellow blogger, ShawdowMyth, wrote a compelling argument in the comment section in which she stated the following:
Prostitution will go on, just like the drug industry, regardless of attempts to control it. Prostitutes are safer going through Craigslist, it is out of visual range for those who do not want to see it(off the streets), and it makes it easier for people like myself who hitchhike everywhere, as people do not think I am a prostitute.
An entire street dedicated to prostitution in my town was completely cleaned up due to Craigslist, and I am sure it is like that in most places. Secondly, it will solve nothing because the prostitutes were already migrating over to the ‘therapeutic’ section of CL, claiming to be massage therapist…I know because I do massage. Now CL has started to charge for the therapeutic section, just like they did the adult section…nothing can be done.
Why people try to suppress animal instinct, even when it is not in their field of vision, is beyond me. If you have studied physiology, you will know the extremity of many male’s desires, and you are not going to stop them from getting what they want, and prostitution helps to curb rape in my opinion. Sad to say, but some men couldn’t get sex if they tried, and prostitutes are the only ones willing to do the deed. Suppression will only lead to a greater eruption of violence and crime, just as we see in the war against drugs.
So when I read an article from The Huffington Post in which the author, Danah Boyd, shared with her readers her quest to stop exploitation of women and children, her argument was compelling. She stated the following:
For the last 12 years, I’ve dedicated immense amounts of time, money and energy to end violence against women and children. As a victim of violence myself, I’m deeply committed to destroying any institution or individual leveraging the sex-power matrix that results in child trafficking, nonconsensual prostitution, domestic violence and other abuses. If I believed that censoring Craigslist would achieve these goals, I’d be the first in line to watch them fall. But from the bottom of my soul and the depths of my intellect, I believe that the current efforts to censor Craigslist’s “adult services” achieves the absolute opposite. Rather than helping those who are abused, it fundamentally helps pimps, human traffickers and others who profit off of abusing others.
The Internet has changed the dynamics of prostitution and trafficking, making it easier for prostitutes and traffickers to connect with clients without too many layers of intermediaries. As a result, the Internet has become an intermediary, often without the knowledge of those internet service providers (ISPs) who are the conduits. This is what makes people believe that they should go after ISPs like Craigslist. Faulty logic suggests that if Craigslist is effectively a digital pimp who’s profiting off of online traffic, why shouldn’t it be prosecuted as such?
The problem with this logic is that it fails to account for three important differences: 1) most ISPs have a fundamental business — if not moral — interest in helping protect people; 2) the visibility of illicit activities online makes it much easier to get at, and help, those who are being victimized; and 3) a one-stop-shop is more helpful for law enforcement than for criminals. In short, Craigslist is not a pimp, but a public perch from which law enforcement can watch without being seen.
I must admit that my original opinion was that the closing of the ‘Adult Services’ section of craigslist was a good idea. But after reading the intelligent responses from these ladies, I have changed my opinion. I believe that the closing of this section is absolute censorship and violates our rights to freedom of speech. In addition I believe that this does nothing to cure the underlying problem associated with prostitution nor the exploitation of women.
What do you think?