Craigslist drops personal ads due to sex trafficking bill

Craigslist drops personal ads due to sex trafficking bill

By Lia Eustachewich March 23, 2018 | 9:53am | Updated

Craigslist has yanked its personal ads section in the wake of an anti-online sex trafficking bill that passed in Congress this week.

The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, makes websites criminally liable for content that its users post, including prostitution ads and sex-trafficking content.

Craigslist — whose personals include bawdy categories such as casual encounters — said it pulled ads because it wasn’t worth running afoul of the new law.

“Any tool or service can be misused,” the website said in a statement. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”

It added, “To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”

Reddit also banned sex-worker subreddits, including Escorts, Male Escorts, Hookers and SugarDaddy, shortly after the bill was passed.

Previously, websites like Craigslist and Backpage faced broad protections from legal liability for user-posted content.

FOSTA has been criticized by some lawmakers and sex workers for making it harder to combat sex trafficking.

“The failure to understand the technological side effects of this bill — specifically that it will become harder to expose sex-traffickers, while hamstringing innovation — will be something that this Congress will regret,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told CNN earlier this month.

Wyden and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted against FOSTA, which passed 97-2 in the Senate on Wednesday. It is likely to be signed into law by President Trump.


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