Craigslist, Reddit Shut Down Personal Ads In Wake Of Sex Trafficking Bill

Written by on April 28, 2018 in Agencies & Systems, Government, Politics with 0 Comments

By Jenna Amatulli | Huffington Post

Craigslist shuttered its personal ads section after the U.S. Senate passed Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on Wednesday.

Reddit also removed some of its subreddits, or forums, as of Thursday night. Four of the website’s banned subreddits were related to sex — Escorts, Male Escorts, Hookers, and SugarDaddy — though none were strictly advertising forums.

FOSTA gives sex trafficking victims and prosecutors more power to sue websites that allow sex trafficking ads on their sites. Tech companies had opposed the bill, arguing that they couldn’t be held responsible for what individuals do on their platforms.

Craigslist issued the following statement on its site following the bill’s passage:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. 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.

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

As HuffPost’s Angelina Chapin noted, shuttering these kinds of ads is dangerous for the sex workers it purportedly protects. Sex workers advertising online are not soliciting work on the streets, where they are more likely to encounter dangerous situations.

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