Craigslist Faces More Prostitution Controversy

May 25, 2009 at 4:38 pm (Uncategorized)

By Nick Olivari, Reuters May 21, 2009

NEW YORK – Seven people accused of publicizing a New York City
prostitution ring over Craigslist have been indicted, adding to pressure on the
online classified site to vet its ads.

 
Room Service Entertainment, operating from the borough of Queens,
continuously advertised in the erotic services section of Craigslist, New York
state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
 
The ring operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and serviced all five
boroughs in New York City plus surrounding areas, employing numerous “bookers,”
drivers, and prostitutes from June 2007 through December 2008, Cuomo’s office
said.
 
The seven were charged with enterprise corruption and face a maximum of 25
years in prison if convicted.
 
Craigslist said last week it would replace its “erotic services” ads with a
new adult category, where ads would be closely screened, following pressure by
state authorities due to the killing of a masseuse in Boston who advertised on
the site.
 
“Until Craigslist gets serious about putting real protections in place, it
will continue to be an environment where criminal operations thrive with
impunity,” Cuomo said on Wednesday.
 
Jim Buckmaster, chief executive officer at Craigslist, said the activities
described by Cuomo took place in 2008, “well before Craigslist eliminated erotic
services and commenced manual screening of all ads posted to adult
services.”
 
Separately, the website said it sued South Carolina’s attorney general in
federal court, seeking a determination on its right to publish ads and a
restraining order against Attorney General Henry McMaster.
 
McMaster has repeatedly threatened to prosecute Craigslist and its executives
regarding classified categories he said could be used to solicit prostitutes,
Craigslist said in a statement.

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