House Panel: Child Prostitutes Increasingly Caught in the 'Web'

Filed under: In The News, Extreme Childhood, Sex


Certain ads on Craigslist may offer services for adults, but those "services" could be provided by children.

In other words, Craigslist can be used to facilitate child prostitution.

The operators of Craigslist say they care, and they no longer accept ads for adult services. Well, sort of.

Craigslist stopped running adult services ads in the United States Sept. 3. But while the ads no longer run in America, those looking to peddle children's flesh don't have to go far. The ads still run in Canada and other foreign countries.

And law enforcement personnel say that inevitably leads to child prostitution. Attorneys general from 17 states petitioned Craigslist late last month to stop posting thinly veiled ads for prostitution.

Craigslist bowed to pressure in the United States, but William "Clint" Powell, director of customer service and law information relations for the company, told the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime this week that erotic ads remain available throughout the world.

"The increasingly sharp public criticism of Craigslist's Adult Services section reflects a growing recognition that ads for prostitution -- including ads trafficking children -- are rampant on it," the attorneys general said in a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark.

However, CNN reports, Powell conceded that Americans could access Craigslist in Montreal to find child prostitutes across the border in the United States. Still, he said, that's unlikely as most pimps and prostitutes have abandoned Craigslist for other sites.

CNN reports at least 100,000 teenagers are believed to be lured into prostitution and "sexual slavery" each year, according to statistics presented to the subcommittee. Much of this sex trafficking, the network adds, is aided by the Internet.

"Sex trafficking is the slavery of the 21st century," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, said during the subcommittee hearing reported by CNN. "These are our daughters, their schoolmates and friends."

It is the third largest global criminal enterprise, according to the news network -- just behind drug and gun trafficking.

Related: Susan Sarandon, Other Activists Work to Provide 'Safe Harbor' for Child Prostitutes

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