Meanwhile the Attorneys General of 20 States in the US have run a campaign to force Craigslist to close its Adult Services section. Note that it appears that there is no legal reason for Craigslist to do that. One assumes that if even one of those Attorneys General had the legal means to do so they would have taken action in the courts to force Craigslist to take action, Instead we have a campaign that has sought to harness public opinion against Craigslist.
It appears to me that we have the modern day version of the lynch mob chasing Craigslist and without sound reason.
The argument used is that Craigslist and other websites provide the ideal place for criminals to traffic young women, and that they are used by those people in that way. The anti-Craiglist lobby argues that the problem is huge. This quote (and the others to follow) is from a CNN news report:
Let's be clear before we go any further that we all know that even one exploited child is one too many. That's something that I feel very strongly about. Equally I feel that in this case the advocates, and as we will later see, the law enforcement organisations are engaged in a massive stupidity. Bluntly they have forgotten that their job is to catch (or advocate for the right action against) the criminals who exploit children and instead have embarked on a campaign without evidence against Criagslist. My message to the NCMEC and all of the law enforcement agencies is this: If the problem is as large as you claim then you are simply lazy and not very good at your jobs. You are not doing your job, rather you are seeking to blame an easy target. When you have driven Craigslist from business you will not have made one single ounce of difference to one single exploited child. Not a single bit of difference.
The first sentence of the quote above gives us a guide to what is going on here. "Nobody knows what the real numbers are". That is the standard line used when there is no evidence. However that's not going to stop him or others. What that really means is that these people don't have a shred of evidence but they're still hell bent on their lynch mob tactics with respect to Craigslist.
Further on in that same report we get this:
"It's an outrageous thing to say, but one of our goals is to move these operators into some other illicit enterprise -- to get them out of the trafficking of human beings and into some other illegal business," Allen [CEO of the NCMEC] said.
Yes it is an outrageous thing to say. He's talking about the people that he claims are pimping young girls via sites like Craigslist. Similarly we have this:
So when was the last time we heard about the need for law enforcement to move with the times? These guys are still stuck in a 1960s time warp. The world has moved on guys and the way you need to catch criminals has changed. Why is it that your definition of law enforcement is to run campaigns against legitimate businesses? Why are you too lazy to work out how to enforce the law with respect to the real criminals: the people who place the ads.
By all means if, in the course of doing your job, you arrive at evidence that Craigslist is breaking the law then prosecute them. They have no right to special treatment. But at the moment what's happening is that the law enforcement establishment is targeting Craigslist and allowing the real criminals to go on exploiting women unchecked. That's a shameful situation.
This campaign has moved to the point of mob hysteria is some quarters. A search of Twitter will turn up reams of increasingly bizarre posts lauding the campaign against Craigslist.
What really makes me angry is that all this effort is misdirected. Direct the energy to smart, effective law enforcement. Catch these people and imprison them. At the moment all this campaign is doing is diverting energy from the real actions that will help the young people who are being exploited. That's shameful.
PS: sorry about the formatting in this post...sometimes Blogger defeats me!