By JEFFREY YIP, QMI AGENCY
Following months of pressure from the federal government, Craigslist removed the “erotic services” section from its website Saturday.
The government was concerned the section on the classified website was promoting child prostitution and human trafficking.“Obviously we want to stop trafficking. Obviously we want to stop any involvement of children in prostitution,” said John Lowman, a prostitution expert and SFU criminology professor.“But basically it’s a moral crusade being fought by prohibitionists and the Conservative government … In Canada, prostitution is legal,” he claimed.
He also questioned the ad removals.
“Police agencies were having some success finding people involved in trafficking and child prostitution by monitoring Craigslist. So they’re closing down one of the best law enforcement tools they appear to have.”
Susan Davis, an activist and sex worker, agreed with Lowman.She said closing the section made life more difficult for sex workers.“Many rely on it for their income. Some women I know only run ads on Craigslist. Now what are they suppose to do?”
The removal came after Friday’s Red Umbrella Day, an international event calling for the end of violence against sex workers.
“It’s unfortunate they’ve taken away a relatively safe way for workers to meet [and] screen clients,” Davis said. “We’re going to see an increase in street prostitution and all the problems associated with that.”
Despite the removal, new ads were found under other categories, such as “therapeutic” or “casual encounters”.