The Cook County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois has filed a federal lawsuit against craigslist claiming that they are the largest source of prostitution in America. It’s kind of hard to argue with that.
“They’ve actually catered their site so it facilitates (prostitution), where you can actually and more specifically and quickly get to what you want,” said Sheriff Tom Dart at a news conference announcing the federal lawsuit.
Again that’s hard to argue.
Now let’s go to craigslist’s resident mouthpiece Susan MacTavish Best…
“Misuse of Craigslist to facilitate criminal activity is unacceptable, and we continue to work diligently to prevent it,” Best said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The company cooperates with law enforcement, has taken several steps to prevent illegal use of the site and pulls inappropriate ads, Best said.
We’ve been over this before. The so-called steps craigslist has allegedly taken to curb prostitution on their site have been largely for show. The amount of ads on craigslist’s erotic services section has not seen a significant drop no matter what craigslist says.
Sheriff Dart basically argues that the erotic services section serves no other purpose but to facilitate prostitution. He also said that his office has posted ads posing as underage kids looking for sex and that the ads were never pulled by craigslist.
“We put up … one saying 14-year-old looking for sex,” he said. “That ad wasn’t taken down. It sat out there until we took it down.”
While I admire Sheriff Dart’s determination to see prostitution removed from the pages of craigslist I don’t know how much merit this lawsuit actually has due to first amendment issues. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one to see what develops.