Craigslist Hookers Need Credit Card And Phone

Dennis Faas's picture

The classifieds site Craigslist is changing its rules on advertisements by skin-trade workers following pressure from state governments. Escorts will still be able to advertise, but must provide details which could make prosecution easier where they break local laws in doing so.

The crackdown follows complaints by Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal who contacted the site in March 2008, highlighting advertisements which gave specific details about certain services for offer and the rates the prostitutes charged.

This was deemed illegal under the state's law and one woman was charged over such advertising. Blumenthal later earned the support of 39 other state governments as he lobbied the website.

Craigslist has now agreed that it will insist anyone placing an advertisement in the erotic services category must provide a telephone number and a credit card number, both of which must be verified.

This will make it much easier for prosecutors to go after anyone who breaks local laws on advertising prosecution; they'll still need a subpoena to get the details of an advertiser, but that information will now be available where required.

The problem with this deal is that it only applies to a particular section of the site. Those who aren't willing to provide details will likely move their advertisements to another category.

If Craiglist is fortunate, they'll simply target the 'casual encounters' section of the dating category. But there's also a risk that escort ads could wind up taking over the categories for providers of legitimate massage services. (Source:

The site has also agreed to tag the adult section of its listings so that they can be blocked by parental protection software. Craiglist will also sue 14 firms which have promoted methods of bypassing its rules against advertising illegal services. (Source:

The site will also explore the idea of installing filters which automatically block ads containing explicit images or terms related to commercial sexual services. While the technology for that tactic is simple, it may be tricky to keep up with the euphemisms and codewords which prostitutes and their clients will likely develop to avoid triggering such filters.

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