Insightful Commentary on Craigslist Erotic Services News

Her.meneutics (a Christianity Today blog) interviews Kaffie McCullough “who for eight years has led a statewide campaign to stop the prostitution of children in Georgia” and heads up the Atlanta-based A Future. Not a Past. program, a wing of the Juvenile Justice Fund.

If you’re not familiar with the recent developments, the post summarizes:

The same feature that has made Craigslist so popular — namely, unlimited free advertising — has brought the decade-old website under heavy criticism for providing unmonitored forums for prostitution in its 570 city hubs. After several state representatives met with Craigslist attorneys Wednesday, the site agreed to remove its “erotic services” section and replace it with an “adult services” section, in which posts will cost $5-10 and be manually reviewed by staff before going up.

The interview is eye-opening.  It begins:

What was your response to yesterday’s announcement?
I’m grateful that Craigslist is trying to monitor what’s happening, because their erotic services [section] was clearly a place where young girls were being prostituted. I have mixed feelings as to whether this is going to work. I’d want to know what they mean when they say they’re going to “monitor” it. And without training staff, for instance, the research that we’ve been doing since August 2007 says that people were not accurate when they’d make estimates as to whether somebody is young or not. I’d like to think Craigslist would be open to having training so that staff can screen more effectively.

I realize that all of this makes it harder for the perpetrators, but . . . the reality is that even if Craigslist had totally taken it down, that wouldn’t stop the problem of the prostitution of children — it would just spring up somewhere else.

Why has Craigslist become a hotbed of prostitution?
Craigslist is so easy, and so accessible, and so large. In other words, when we first started our research, we looked at other places, but it happened to such a greater extent on Craigslist that there was no point in taking the time to monitor the other websites, because the amount that was happening on Craigslist so dwarfed everything else . . .

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