Craigslist to replace 'erotic services' category
Online classified ads service Craigslist will get rid of its "erotic services" category that critics called a front for prostitution, replacing it with an adult category that will be reviewed by website employees, state attorneys general announced Wednesday.
Pressure to remove the category increased this spring after a Boston medical student was charged with killing a masseuse who authorities say he met through Craigslist.
Two months ago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart filed a lawsuit alleging that Craigslist allowed the solicitation of prostitution and had created the "largest source of prostitution in America."
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the attorneys general of Connecticut and Missouri met with Craigslist officials last week seeking an end to ads they contended were advertisements for illegal sexual activities.
Madigan's office said Wednesday such existing ads on the Craigslist website will expire in seven days.
"We're very encouraged that Craigslist is doing the right thing in eliminating its online red light district with prostitution and pornography in plain sight. We'll be watching and investigating critically to make sure this measure is more than just a name change," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
"This is a good next step but by no means is it the ultimate or complete solution," he said.
Blumenthal had brokered an agreement with Craigslist in November to crack down on prostitution ads.
Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and a Craigslist lawyer did not immediately respond to e-mails and calls seeking comment Wednesday morning.