While Craiglist’s adult personals section has been the subject of a great many jokes, two alleged sex crimes as a result of the site may make you think more seriously about it. An interest group focused on human rights for women has blasted the site by taking out an ad in The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle asking for the adult services section to be shut down.
The Rebecca Project’s ad tells the story of “AK,” who claims to have been raped as a result of the site, and “MC.” who was forced into prostitution as a result of the site. The ad claims that Craigslist makes million yearly by charging for ads in this space.
Craiglist took to its own blog to defend itself, saying it was “anxious” to see the perpetrators behind bars, and asked to know where these police reports have been filed, saying it had yet to be able to locate such reports.
“If craigslist was misused, we want to learn more so we can improve our preventative measures,” Craigslist co-founder Jim Buckmaster wrote. “If anyone committing such crimes has not yet been apprehended and prosecuted, we want to do everything in our power to assist the police in making that happen.”
Both “AK” and “MC” say that the open letter was written to Craigslist in order to prove how easy the site makes it for criminals to carry out acts like this. However, it seems to be clear that The Rebecca Project has so far not provided the company with actual evidence that law enforcement has ever been involved in their cases.
Regardless of whether the stories are true or not, Buckmaster assured that misuse of the site is quite rare, and that it has taken steps to prevent abuse of the adult services section, including a manual review of every adult service ad that is submitted. He did admit that this manual screening was likely implemented after these two incidents occurred based on the time period they were written.
Other efforts to prevent misuse include encouragement of user participation in reporting misuse, creating specialized search functions for law enforcement, and requiring phone verification for every adult service ad, among others.
“We are not content however, and are committed to making further progress,” he concluded.