Craiglist Accused of being One of the Largest Sources of Prostitution

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Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on March 5th, 2009 sued Craigslist, the popular internet classifieds website. He is accusing them of being a one of the largest sources of prostitution in the United States.

The federal lawsuit filed by Dart's office claims that Craigslist's erotic section is a powerful marketing tool for pimps and prostitutes and makes it easier for criminals to elude police.]

A Craigslist spokeswoman said that compared to all of the legal classifieds on the site, these type of criminal acts are rare. She also said that Craigslist constantly helps law enforcement to track down people who post illegal classified ads.

Sex workers use online classifieds because they find that sites like Craigslist helps to reduce physical violence by customers. This often means as an added benefit, that pimps are not needed. What Craigslist does is offer a buffer between the prostitute and the client through the anonymous email system. Plus, most hookers find that people who use the internet to find sex, tend to have a much lesser chance of being violent.

Police also have used Craigslist to pursue criminal investigations. One example was given from Seattle, where police arrested 71 men in response to one sex ad on Craigslist.

For more on this story, check out Cnet News.